The Entertainment Shack

Posted by Erik W on Dec 12, 2010 5:18 PM

Feds will pull, redistribute Wisconsin's high-speed rail money -

Like many others, I was extremely disappointed to hear that the Milwaukee-Madison rail project, seventeen years in the making, and so close to execution, has been halted.

Supports of Scott Walker, like the guests on the annoying and poorly moderated 'Sunday Insight with Charlie Sykes' on TMJ4, are praising Mr Walker for fulfilling his campaign promise to take the rail funding and return it to taxpayers or use it for roads and bridges. Although neither of those things happened and the funding went to California, Florida, and Illinois instead.

Having been on intercity passenger rail in United States, Europe, and Asia, I personally find it to be a very convenient mode of transportation for distances where air travel wouldn't make any sense and driving starts to get annoying. Yes, during testing phases the Milwaukee-Madison rail would only travel 79 miles/hour, but would be increased to 110 miles/hour when it is found save to do so. With only two stops in between, it certainly wouldn't take any longer then by car or bus. And who says the train then couldn't increase to 160 miles/hour or 220 miles/hour like in Europe or Asia respectively? Rome wasn't built in a day. And at an estimated $44 to $66 a trip, it's true it would cost approximately three to four times the gas money to drive that distance (given 30mpg and $3/gallon gas), but you also have to consider what that hour of time is worth to you. You could read, study, or work on a freelance programming or design project, and easily justify the cost. And who says gas prices won't go up.

Another big worry was the operating budget of being, worst case, $10 million/year. Putting this in perspective, this would be 0.36% of the Wisconsin DOT Budget, and 0.03% of our overall budget. I'd say that's a small price to pay for progress.

Hopefully we'll be able to pick the project back up in a few years...

listed in: politics, rail, scott walker, wisconsin


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