Friday, July 14, 2017

One last word, number about the Amtrak line Walker killed

[Updated] Republicans say they believe in austerity and fiscal responsibility.


Deep into this story about the return of an Amtrak maintenance facility in Milwaukee which had been part of the entire Amtrak expansion which Walker killed in 2011 after campaigning against it and former Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle's productive employment stimulus partnership with President Obama in 2010 is a key statistic:

$50 million.

That's the value of state money and train equipment which Wisconsin under Walker turned back to Talgo, the Spanish manufacturer which built trains in Milwaukee under contract to Wisconsin.

But the state under Walker broke a contract with the Talgo, and also broke faith  with a high-unemployment Milwaukee neighborhood where Talgo had opened its assembly plant and maintenance shot.

In 2013, Talgo trains which assembled in Milwaukee were instead welcomed in Oregon, having been forfeited to Talgo in the contract-breaking settlement.

$50 million could have covered more than 30 years of estimated annual operating costs to run the new trains between Milwaukee and Madison, according to state officials in 2011, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
Plus, the trains went to Talgo as part of the settlement, so Wisconsin ended up with exactly zero new train service, zero rail line construction jobs scheduled in the thousands, zero long-term train assembly jobs, along with 50 million bucks - - thanks to Walker's need for partisan, self-serving headlines and anti-Milwaukee suburban votes which helped him win the 2010 gubernatorial election.

All of which looks worse, as I pointed out the other day, since a mega-factory rumored to be located in Racine County cannot offer high-tech workers lured to from Madison an easy, road congestion-free ride to Racine County's convenient Sturtevant Amtrak station.

Nor can Chicago residents perhaps hired at the plant ride the Metro commuter train with a transfer to Racine at the end of the existing line in Kenosha, because Walker and Assembly Leader Robin Vos also killed Wisconsin's coordinating regional transit authorities and a commuter train from Kenosha to Racine and Milwaukee - - all in service to the the road-builder lobby and a parallel, pro-car, anti-transit ideology.

A summary post, here.

And here.

Amazing how many good ideas and solid publi services these anti-transit Republicans have derailed.


Unknown said...

Don forget previous Republican Democrat Doyle dropped the project like a hot potato as soon as Walker made it his own chief political promise. 'I will refuse to accept nearly a billion Federal dollars which you, Wisconsin voters are entitled to…'

Charmingly Feisty said...

Right? I was floored when walker told doyle what to do, months before walker ever took office.
Who does that. What balls.

Anonymous said...

If Walker wasn't going to finish the project, what would have been the point of Doyle forging ahead? Walker would have made sure that it was cast as a political maneuver to undermine the will of the people who voted for Walker. The press on Talgo has been bad for Walker as exemplified by this article. Yeah, I wish there was a train between MKE and Madison. I would take it a lot. It would have helped the WI economy. Electing Walker insured that there would be no train and now WI must live with that.

James Rowen said...

This effort to blame Doyle is a long-standing diversionary ploy by Walkerites. I hope we can lay it to rest. Walker made his objection to the train and his intention to turn back the funding at the centerpiece of his 2010 gubernatorial run against Doyle and a stepping stone towards an eventual run for President by teeing up Obama. The blame is entirely Walker's; the loss is entirely Wisconsin's.

Betsey said...

Doyle was a deeply flawed overnor in many respects. But blaming him for stopping forward movement on the train service Walker was hell-bent on killing anyway is a train station too far. Thanks, James, for keeping the focus-and blame--where it rightly belongs: on the commonsense-adverse Walker and his band of flying monkeys.

Betsey said...

BTW, Theodore, Rule of Law: Doyle dropped the project "like a hot potato" not after Walker made it his campaign promise, but after Walker was elected and before Walker took office, approximately 2 months.

my5cents said...

It still makes me sick to think of all of the jobs and improvements to transportation that Walker threw away just because. We sure could use that upgraded transportation now to help lure more businesses to the state, but we don't have it do we. What a mess Walker has made of Wisconsin.

The Conductor said...

It's actually even worse than that $50 million figure. That was for the settlement only. Add to that money already paid for train construction, money already spent on track improvements along Canadian Pacific (advanced signaling and two crossovers), plus the total amount of the station and trainshed reconstruction in Milwaukee.

That makes it more like $110 million, all up. All of those items would have been covered under the $890 million grant.

Oh, but that's so much money to run the trains? Is that what conservatives want to whine? Well, Snotty Walker and his concrete club pals have spent $5.1 billion on just three of the "free"way interchanges in Milwaukee. Put that in scale: that's enough to have run the Madison extension of the Hiawatha for about 850 years. Let's assume that only enough people ride the train that you get only extend the life of those 40-year-old highway interchanges by a single year... That would be the equivalent of saving $127.5 million ($5.1 billion/40).

Anonymous said...

Our roads are in great shape. No need for trains here.

Anonymous said...

Our roads are in great shape! No need for trains or decreasing auto traffic here. Please move,on, nothing to see,folks....geez