Monday, November 11, 2013

High speed train fail keeps on a-rolling

With Talgo filing a $65.9 million lawsuit last week against the state for breach of contract due to Gov Walker's refusal to build the high-speed rail line between Milwaukee, Madison, and the Twin Cities, let's take a step back and look at what the price tag now stands at due to Scotty's foolhardy decision.

First, let's look at the $31.6 million in state money that was spent in July 2011 to upgrade the same Milwaukee-to-Chicago rail lines that the feds would have paid out if the rail project was allowed to go through.

Then remember the $2.5 million spent by the state to look into another site for the Talgo plant. Which ended up netting Wisconsin absolutely ZERO when Talgo decided to set up its manufacturing facility (and the jobs that went with it) in Rochelle, Illinois, and IDOT decided to buy its new high-speed rail trains from that facility.

And remember that we're paying $9 million in additional state money in 2011-2013 to operate the Milwaukee-Chicago Hiawatha line (as shown in item 5 under "Local Transportation Assistance" near the bottom of page 15), and $7.2 million more in state money to subsidize the Chicago-Milwaukee routes over the next two years because the Governor decided to divert $8.8 million in federal aid from passenger rail (as shown in item 6 under "Local Transportation Assistance" near the bottom of page 18 in this PDF), and instead send it instead to highways. You may recall that the feds offered to take care of up to 90% of the subsidy of operating this line if the high-speed rail had been allowed to go through. But NOOOOO, working with the Obama Administration just wouldn't do with the WisGOP saboteurs, so the state is slated to spend about an extra $15 million as a result of this decision.

So from these 3 items alone we get

Cost of upgraded rail lines $31.6 million
Study new facility site, get nothing as a result $2.5 million
Extra costs to subsidize current passenger rail $15 million
Talgo suit $65.9 million

POSSIBLE TOTAL COST to Wisc. taxpayers- $115 million
Total Wisconsin share of stimulus rail- $14.6 million (1.8% of $810 million)
Possible extra cost to Wisc. taxpayers- $100.4 million

I'm not even adding in the lost benefits of jobs or the added service that we've never received, along with that possible $100 million price tag. Instead of having people in Madison and the western suburbs of Milwaukee boarding trains to get to Chicago for the upcoming holiday season, they'll have few options other than driving on congested and potentially snowy roads, due to Walker's high-speed fail. And if Walker's backers in the 262 want to go to Chitown and places further south in the next 2-3 years, they'll have to deal the extra headache of major construction due to the Zoo Interchange and I-94 projects (along with the extra billions of borrowing the state is taking on for those years). Gee, you think those guys are going to wish they had another option of transportation they could take?

Helluva job there, Scotty. I'm sure there are other extra costs that I didn't even hit on, but those numbers alone should be grounds to get these clowns fired, let alone all the other corruption and mismanagement we've seen in the last 3 years.

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