Wisconsin temporarily halts Madison passenger train work

RELATED TOPICS: HIGH SPEED RAIL
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MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin transportation secretary Frank Busalacchi announced today that the state will temporarily suspend work on the project to extend passenger rail service from Milwaukee to Madison.

The suspension came at the request of retiring Gov. Jim Doyle, who will be replaced in 2011 by Scott Walker, the Republican gubernatorial candidate who made blocking the rail project a cornerstone of his election campaign.

“In light of the election results, our agency will be taking a few days to assess the real world consequences, including the immediate impacts to people and their livelihoods, if this project were to be stopped,” Busalacchi wrote in a statement.

Last weekend, the state and federal administrators signed a deal to commit Wisconsin to spending all $810 million of the federal stimulus money allocated to build a high speed Milwaukee-to-Madison passenger train route.

Even with the federal government picking up construction costs, Governor-elect Walker stated he did not want the state to spend money on operating subsidies for the line and would rather see the money spent on roads.

The Milwaukee-Madison route would operate as an extension of Amtrak’s existing Chicago-Milwaukee Hiawatha service. Canadian Pacific owns the portion of the route from Milwaukee to Watertown, Wis., where trains would enter state-owned trackage to Madison, presently operated by Wisconsin & Southern. Service is to start in 2013, with six round trips daily at 79 mph, rising to a top speed of 110 mph by 2015. Operating costs are projected at $7.5 million a year, not counting the portion covered by fares.
MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin transportation secretary Frank Busalacchi announced today that the state will temporarily suspend work on the project to extend passenger rail service from Milwaukee to Madison.

The suspension came at the request of retiring Gov. Jim Doyle, who will be replaced in 2011 by Scott Walker, the Republican gubernatorial candidate who made blocking the rail project a cornerstone of his election campaign.

“In light of the election results, our agency will be taking a few days to assess the real world consequences, including the immediate impacts to people and their livelihoods, if this project were to be stopped,” Busalacchi wrote in a statement.

Last weekend, the state and federal administrators signed a deal to commit Wisconsin to spending all $810 million of the federal stimulus money allocated to build a high speed Milwaukee-to-Madison passenger train route.

Even with the federal government picking up construction costs, Governor-elect Walker stated he did not want the state to spend money on operating subsidies for the line and would rather see the money spent on roads.

The Milwaukee-Madison route would operate as an extension of Amtrak’s existing Chicago-Milwaukee Hiawatha service. Canadian Pacific owns the portion of the route from Milwaukee to Watertown, Wis., where trains would enter state-owned trackage to Madison, presently operated by Wisconsin & Southern. Service is to start in 2013, with six round trips daily at 79 mph, rising to a top speed of 110 mph by 2015. Operating costs are projected at $7.5 million a year, not counting the portion covered by fares.
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