Scott Walker's weakness before right-wing talk radio and his robotic obeisance to the highway lobby cost southern Wisconsin a Madison connection to the now-record-setting Hiawatha Amtrak line.
This Journal Sentinel headline says it all:
Amtrak's Hiawatha route tops monthly ridership recordHe also stripped a reeling state workforce of thousands of construction jobs and forced the shutdown of a Milwaukee factory to assemble more trains and and repair them.
The news today that the Hiawatha line between Milwaukee and Chicago continues to be a smashing success as upgraded rail linkages expand elsewhere in the Midwest makes a commentary from January, 2012 by veteran political writer Marc Eisen rather prescient:
Now imagine an updated rail system carrying people from the Twin Cities to downtown Chicago in less than six hours - even faster than driving and on a par with a complicated airline connection.
Oops! Don't consider it. That scenario is precisely what Walker killed when he gave back the $810 million - federal funding that would have paid the full capital costs of connecting Madison to Milwaukee.
Says Watertown Mayor Ron Krueger: "That decision will hurt the state of Wisconsin for decades to come."