Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Train Had Support At MMAC, Which Caved To Walker's Talk-Radio Agenda

You'd think that the MMAC ran away from the high-speed train and towards protecting Scott Walker because the rail plan was toxic to its members.

Apparently not:

After the train-killing deed was done, the MMAC discloses, 'hey: half our members supported it, and most said it was an important issue.'

But still manages to blame the Obama administration for withdrawing the funding Walker dismissed.

Now there's some leadership.

mmac insider
Keeping chamber members in the know.


"The Midwest region does not need high speed rail to make it an economic success. The cost is far too high and the benefit minimal. For the cost, rail only works in a very large, congested metropolitan area where parking is costly and traffic causes extreme delays."

"Building infrastructure that supports economic development is vitally important to the Milwaukee Region and high speed rail to Madison and ultimately Minneapolis is key. Although Milwaukee is the much larger brother to Madison, Dane County is actually a growing region that is creating new jobs through new small businesses that are geared for the 21st century."

"There is not enough demand to devote dollars to a high speed rail line between Milwaukee and Madison. Given the deficit of our state and nation, those dollars should be used on the zoo interchange project or to enhance the Hiawatha line."

"For a relatively small investment in the scheme of the state budget, Wisconsin will be obtaining many benefits. It is important to think of this in the larger context of connecting to Minneapolis; the tremendous value to freight service; improved safety at crossings; getting the jump on traffic congestion and reducing energy costs."
"Take 5% of the $810 million and improve the bus service between Madison and Milwaukee, adding stops, express service, etc. I love trains, but this is not a good plan. It will be used by a small handful of people who will have their trips heavily subsidized by the state and the feds."

"To be a state-of-the-art city in an interconnected world, we need to have a variety of transportation options, including rail. If we are not on the line, we are out of the loop. This line connects two Midwest superpowers, and we should be a part of it; not Iowa!"
MMAC Members Evenly Split
on High Speed Rail
Early this month, we asked MMAC members to share your views with us concerning the proposed High Speed Rail project between Madison and Milwaukee as part of a Midwest rail network.

First of all, I would like to thank so many of you who took the time to respond. Both the rate of response on this survey and the depth and intensity of the views expressed by our members were impressive. We will continue to engage you in the issues facing the metro Milwaukee business community.

Second, I would like to share the overall results and a small sample of comments on both sides of the issue (below).  If you would like to see the complete set of comments,
>>click here. As you can see, members’ views were evenly split.

Since this survey was completed, the Obama Administration announced that it was pulling the funding for this project from Wisconsin and distributing it to other states. We are disappointed the administration took an “all or nothing” approach to these funds. While our survey reflected clear disagreement on the passenger rail spur to Madison, there was considerable support for individual components of the proposal that would have upgraded existing passenger and freight rail capacity. 

We will continue to work with Gov.-elect Walker, the new state legislature and the federal government to ensure that the infrastructure priorities of our region and our state – from roads, to rails, to ports, to airports – are adequately addressed in a way that encourages economic growth.

Thank you again for your interest in this issue.
Tim Sheehy
MMAC President


428 total users answered the question: “Do you support creation of a high speed rail line between Milwaukee and Madison as part of a proposed Midwest rail network connecting Chicago to the Twin Cities?”
·         214 voted "Yes"
·         214 voted "No"
Question 2: “The high speed rail proposal is one of many issues currently facing the state. Please indicate how important you believe this issue is to our state and our region.”
·         Critically Important - 19.9% (85 users)
·         Very Important - 21.3% (91 users)
·         Important - 12.6% (54 users)
·         Somewhat Important - 10.7% (46 users)
·         Not Very Important - 17.3% (74 users)
·         Not Important at All - 18.2% (78 users)

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