Doyle calls Walker’s bluff on high-speed rail.

Yesterday news got out that Governor Doyle hit the pause button on the high-speed rail project in Wisconsin.

I agree with Brew City Brawler. This amounts to Doyle calling Governor-Elect Scott Walker’s bluff. But the first person I saw to call this one was @maryb1161 of blog Mary’s World who tweeted at 10:07 last night:

I knew I loved Wisconsin Gov Doyle for a reason…Our new Gov. Walker ran on killing high speed rail between Mad. and Milwaukee. Doyle says “OK bitch!”

REMINDER: OH & WI Republican candidates for governor spots in the U.S. vowed to kill trains. I suspect such unanimity is no accident: I think they are working to make sure this piece of Obama’s recovery plan is a botched affair, either literally, or through spin.

As long as you’re thinking trains, it’s a good time to visit clean transit expert Robbie Webber’s post “Myths about Madison-Milwaukee Rail Service” and get your facts straight.

One myth I want to rant about: When people say nobody will ride it, I wanna go nuts. We got $800 million for this because we won a highly competitive grant for it. According to this Nov. 1 DOT newsletter, extending the Hiawatha line to Madison will increase ridership by 330,000 people. Were these #’s pulled out of thin air?

Answer: “This proven methodology issimilar to the process used for the past 40 years by state and metropolitan planning agencies to develop travel forecasts for highways and transit systems.The ridership numbers are considered conservative but reliable and are accepted by the FederalRailroad Administration.”

And who rides the Hiawatha now and who will ride the extended line?:  Business travelers• Students• Individuals with disabilities• Senior citizens who do not drive• Visitors and tourists• People attending events•

For the record, I will ride the train! I’d be more open to working in Milwaukee if I could work on my computer all the way there on a train. I have the good fortune to live quite close to the planned Madison station and I”ve been looking forward to not only getting out of here easier, but also to hanging out inside the downtown Madison station’s planned winter farm market space.

On a lighter note, but not saner, here’s a trainwreck of songs from Rally for Sanity:

3 thoughts on “Doyle calls Walker’s bluff on high-speed rail.

  1. Wis DOT released an itemization of job impacts and money to be returned to the Feds. 412 jobs immediately impacted. $97.65M to be returned. Evidently a 2009 project in Kenosha County to improve on-time performance, improvements to the Airport station platforms, and the Milwaukee station trainshed replacement are part the whole HSR package.

    (PDF file)

    The comments by the incoming governors of New York and Illinois–we’ll take Wisconsin’s and Ohio’s money–priceless!

  2. Actually, not all Republican governor candidates were anti-train. Terry Branstad of Iowa and Rick Snyder of Michigan have been supportive of passenger rail. Iowa and Illinois just received a grant for developing service from Chicago through the Quad Cities to Iowa City. Michigan got a grant for upgrading service to Detroit.

    Wall Street Journal article:

    • Thanks for that info, Rolf, and I am very glad to be wrong in this area. I’ve been squirreling away train articles that report on activity around the nation for reading tonight, and if I stay obsessed with trains, I’ll write more on the topic – feel free to send more info my way.

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