You want to know just how fouled-up Wisconsin's Republican legislative leadership has become because of anti-rail, talk-radio driven rhetoric?
Legislators cheered Scott Walker's dismissal of $810 million in federal Amtrak funds for an extension to Madison.
Remember's Walker's Stop The Train website?
Governor Doyle and Secretary La Hood say we can't stop the train. I say, just watch us.
Sincerely,Yes, everyone watched! Big success!
And then - - D'Oh!...Oops...Jeez...they discovered that those same dollars for the train they just stopped were also to cover some needed Milwaukee station and service improvements - - on a line the Republican establishment in Milwaukee just loves - - plus for maintenance and employment, too.
So Walker tried to get back on the rails and have that portion refunded, but the train had left the station, and off the funding went to other states, including...Illinois.
So now the Wisconsin legislature - - still with talk radio in their collective right ears - - is balking at fully-funding those Milwaukee-Chicago-upgrades and Milwaukee facility improvements because the money would have to come from just the state.
From the same taxpayers who got screwed out of the Amtrak extension so Mark Belling and Charlie Sykes could stay placated, and, in turn, lavish constant praise on everything with an (R) after it.
Being trapped in contradiction with illogical outcomes is precisely what happens when you turn down jobs and federal dollars to meet ideologically-based campaign promises and talk radio rating points, as Milwaukee developer Gary Granau said emphatically to The Shepherd:
"There's no better place for Milwaukee to be than to be linked to Chicago and linked to Madison," Grunau said. "When [high-speed rail] does get built, the people in Iowa are going to fight like hell for it to come from Chicago to Dubuque to Minneapolis. We're going to be sitting out at the end of the pier with nobody to talk to. And it scares the hell out of me..."
Grunau blamed talk radio's Charlie Sykes and Mark Belling for calling high-speed rail a "boondoggle," which Walker echoed during the 2010 gubernatorial campaign. But Grunau argued that Walker's embrace of the talk-radio-informed base and the governor's repeated criticism of Illinois would hurt Wisconsin's economic opportunities for generations.Which has led the Joint Finance Committee to say it is open to letting some of that Milwaukee Amtrak work - - and remember, Amtrak that runs to and through Milwaukee is among the most successful service in the entire country - - go instead to an existing Amtrak facility in Chicago, or killing a maintenance facility always planned for Milwaukee, reports the Journal Sentinel.
But the Republican-dominated panel also ordered the department to study the costs of using Amtrak's current facilities in Chicago, or of scrapping the project, instead of spending $43 million to $62 million to build a new maintenance base in Milwaukee.So to sum up: first we in Wisconsin lose a federally-financed, money-in-hand rail extension to Madison, along with construction funds and jobs, to more rail-friendly, employment-savvy, common-sensical states, including Illinois - - and now the Wisconsin legislature is considering further short-changing state taxpayers and the highly successful and loyal Hiawatha line ridership by letting good, blue-collar Amtrak servicing jobs migrate to Chicago.
Just like the wind turbine business blocked in Wisconsin by Walker's early rule-dabbling that was made attractive to Illinois.
Is there some secret deal between Wisconsin's Republicans and Illinois job-creators to export manufacturing south of the state line?