Thursday, May 9, 2013

In Rail-Free Wisconsin, More Good News Selling Points

It looks like Gov. Walker and his GOP allies have finally figured out a way to derail Milwaukee's proposed downtown/lower East side streetcar loop (he'd already axed a Milwaukee-Madison Amtrak line in 2011 and GOP legislators separately nixed a Milwaukee-Racine-Kenosha commuter train, too) for which utility customers might have had to catch a share of the costs.

Taxpayers share costs when transmission lines and other utility equipment need to be moved or switched out when legislatively-mandated state highway projects run into the millions and hundreds of millions of dollars - - but hey, no matter - - the streetcar is dead and a transportation double-standard is preserved.


Good news, Bucky: Milwaukee won't be joining backwaters and failures like Charlotte, Houston, Dallas, Denver, New Orleans, Portland and Minneapolis that were flat-out ruined by their urban rail systems.

But wait: there's more.

Killing off trains and maintaining our major cities' rail-free status isn't the only drawing card for out-of-towners, business relocaters and entrepreneurs who might want to visit, spend some time and money, maybe open a business or treat this as the place to send the kids to college.

Walker wants to drop the license fee for getting a chance to kill a Wisconsin wolf to just $50 - - heckuva deal for bargain hunters and a 50% discount from last year's outlandishly-costly blood-letting. And after adding mourning doves to the hunting season list, legislative sportsmen have set their sights on groundhogs and sandhill cranes, too.

Plus - - if activist liberal judges would just get out of the way, you just might be able to do a little owner-and-dog bonding in our great outdoors by being allowed to bring Fido and Spot along on the wolf hunt - - off-leash - - and let them show you just where the wolves are hiding.

* And more fun is on your Wisconsin itinerary. If some people up North would stop whining about their drinking water and fishing holes, a brand-new tourist attraction could open near Ashland close to Lake Superior with a green-light from the DNR: America's Largest Open-Pit Iron Ore Mine, where some stupid hills in the way of progress and super sightseeing right now attract but a few tree-huggers, backpackers, campers and anglers.

I mean, no one actually lives or maintains a culture there.

Hey, we might have 15,000 lakes, but seen one, seen 'em all: people will flock to watch mountain-top dynamiting and monster-trucking to get at and move iron-ore 1,000 feet deep and 22 miles long and help Uncle Sam balance a trade deficit with China.

* We're still rated #1 in easy OWI laws. Meaning there's a free pass from a criminal record with your name on it should you get pulled over by some quota-hunting/sobriety-hating copper for your first offense.

That'd be a crime in every other state, but not where the six-cents-per-gallon tax on beer brewing hasn't been raised since 1970.

Some kill-joy legislators are making fresh noises about taking away your Wisconsin-only right to get pinched for OWI here one time crime-free if you go over 0.15, or twice the legal limit of .08  - - but I think you can trust the liquor lobbies to keep that precious Wisconsin freedom to drive drunk get caught OWI once on the old-school books.

* And speaking of old school, some Wisconsin communities are going full nostalgia by returning to gravel roads.

Look - - budgets are tight, businesses need their tax breaks, and if you ask me, pavement is one of those luxuries - - like a streetcar (psst - - they mean "light rail," also known as a "stranger mover") jammed into one of the few big city downtowns nationally lucky enough to have escaped so far without one - - that are too darn expensive.

So screw pavement and crumbling roads, and streetcars, too. Raise a glass and pop for your $50 wolf pelt permit and be proud your state is open for business and closed to business that tends to develop along trolley lines.

Not that that's a contradiction.

And tune in later as we watch Scott Walker and his legislative allies further save the state by slapping down food stamp recipients, poor people's health insurance, public school funding, teacher salaries and drunk-driving regulations.

Let's put Wisconsin on the map.


zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Further: Texas has 400 workplace fatalities in a year. Wisconsin is WAY behind.

Although considering how dangerous mining is, maybe more mines might be the answer after all.

Anonymous said...

Wisconsinites are too stupid to consider long term benefits of public investment. Want to enjoy a higher quality of life? You have to leave.

Anonymous said...

Walker is against passenger rail only. He has included $60 million in his budget for improvements in freight rail from Reedsburg to Madison so Frac sand can be shipped either east or west.

ohbrad said...

What ever became of the $17M to WI Southern for that ROW improvement from Plymouth to Kohler?

Anonymous said...

Oddly enough, my good friend and I, both recent (3yrs) college graduates of UW (Milwaukee and Whitewater respectively) were discussing why we are leaving WI. Both of us were born and raised here and are actively involved in our communities. It's just getting hopeless, why further waste our time in a state that is devolving so fast it won't recover 'til we're 80? Tired and over it....we're getting out of it. Hello Austin.