Friday, February 9, 2018

Walker's rail fail continues to cost Wisconsinites

A theme during the Age of Fitzwalkerstan is seeing how prior WisGOP decisions often end up being more costly for Wisconsinites in the future. Well, add this to the pile, and it’s a big one.
Adding three additional daily roundtrips to the Amtrak Hiawatha line between Milwaukee and Chicago would require $195 million in infrastructure upgrades, a state Department of Transportation representative said Thursday.

The department presented on its plans to increase the number of daily trips from Milwaukee to Chicago from seven to 10 during a meeting of Milwaukee’s Public Transportation Review Board, chaired by Alderman Bob Bauman.

Plans for increasing the Hiawatha service have been in the works for five years. The Milwaukee to Chicago rail corridor is already a busy one, with 65 Metra commuter trains, 25 freight trains and 16 Amtrak trains. Adding more Amtrak trains would require the completion of 10 infrastructure projects on the tracks, including three in Wisconsin, Arun Rao, DOT passenger rail manager, told the board….

Funding for the expansion of Hiawatha service would come from a combination of federal and state sources, but could also include private investment. Rao acknowledged one of the challenges the project faces is there’s no current federal funding opportunity for the department to apply for.
Wait a minute, I seem to recall that the state had a chance to pay for infrastructure upgrades on this line a while back. OH YEAH! It was from this article in December 2010.
The Obama administration is taking back the $810 million awarded to Wisconsin for train projects after Republican Gov.-elect Scott Walker made it clear he will not waver in his opposition to the project.

With almost all of the money now going to 13 other states, Walker lost a high-stakes gamble — played throughout his campaign for governor — that he could persuade Congress to redirect the money to fix Wisconsin’s crumbling roads and bridges. Federal officials repeatedly said that wasn’t an option, and the money would be sent to rail projects elsewhere.

Walker claimed victory Thursday, saying the project represented “runaway government spending” and would have cost taxpayers in the long run.
Oh, I see a decision that’s costing taxpayers in the long run, alright.

Walker’s idiotic pose against the high-speed rail project, which would have included the feds fully paying for the same Milwaukee-to-Chicago rail line that now needs $195 million of work, will now likely be paid for by Wisconsin state taxes. And that project will have to fight for dollars in a DOT Fund that already doesn’t have enough money to pay to fix our crumbling roads and highways.

Flash ahead 7 ½ years, and look who’s now begging DC for more federal money to bail out the state’s infrastructure.
The department applied last fall for a roughly $250 million federal grant to support the expansion of I-94. The Foxconn special session legislation authorized around $250 million in state bonding for the project, but required the DOT receive federal funding as well before spending any of the money.

A decision on the federal grant is expected later this year. The DOT’s estimated schedule has the mainline I-94 work being completed in 2019 and 2020.
And yes, Foxconn is also being promoted as a reason to upgrade the Hiawatha Line, since it has a stop in Sturtevant that is near the planned Foxconn campus, and the DOT plans that to contribute to increased Amtrak traffic (along with the fact that the Hiawatha Line has doubled in ridership since 2001).

Wonder what’s caused Scotty’s change of heart on asking the feds for infrastructure funds? You don’t think it has something to do with the Black Man not being in the White House anymore, do you?

FIRE THESE SHORT-SIGHTED, RACE-BAITING BUMS before they screw us over for another decade with political pandering. Sure, Walker's and WisGOP's poses may rile up some rube voters, but it’s failed miserably when it comes to making this state better off for business and quality of life.

It must be ended.


  1. "Rao acknowledged one of the challenges the project faces is there’s no current federal funding opportunity for the department to apply for." We could not stop laughing at this one.

    1. You found that funny too, huh?

      And our "infrastructure president" wants to make states and local governments pay more toward those projects in the future. Good luck, WisDOT.