Thanks to Scott Walker’s carelessly insane policy of turning down $810 million in funds to connect the two largest cities in Wisconsin, Madison and Milwaukee, and losing the thousands of jobs and improving the state’s infrastructure, his request to improve the existing train line between Milwaukee to Chicago have been turned down.
Wisconsin has been shut out on the latest round of federal passenger rail funding. As a result, Gov. Scott Walker will not get $150 million to upgrade the Milwaukee to Chicago Amtrak line.
U.S. transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on Monday announced some $2 bilion in high-speed rail funding that had been earlier rejected by Florida Gov. Rick Scott.
The largest recipients include the Northeast Corridor ($795 million), the Midwestern Region ($672 million) and the California and Northwest Region ($385 million). Among the projects getting funding are upgrades to provide 110 mph service from Chicago to Detroit.
Walker last month had applied for $150 million in high-speed rail funding for upgrades to the Milwaukee to Chicago Hiawatha Amtrak rail line. But that request came after Walker — following up on a campaign pledge — had already rejected $810 million the feds allocated last year to establish a Milwaukee-to-Madison high-speed rail line.
Let’s remember what Walker said in March about his request for more money for the Hiawatha Line, which had increased ridership:
“Upgrading the Hiawatha line will save the state money and improve rail service for Wisconsin customers,” said Walker. “The state will save money immediately on capital costs and in the long-term with lower operating costs. Service improvement will also enable the state to recover more from ticket sales.”
Of course, Walker was under the delusion that money would be sent to Wisconsin after he called railroad projects “boondoggles” and denied millions of dollars because he was clearly uninformed about the importance of rail project funding. The people of Wisconsin can look forward to paying taxes for a rail line that will never exist.