Skip to comments.State reimbursed $14 million for high-speed rail plan (WI)
Posted on 06/25/2012 9:52:09 AM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
A year and a half after the abrupt end of Wisconsin's high-speed rail plan, the federal government has reimbursed the state for the money spent on the project.
That $14.6 million payment could be the last official action in the aborted effort to link Milwaukee and Madison by passenger rail.
But Minnesota officials are trying to keep high-speed rail hopes alive, while Wisconsin officials are wrestling with issues surrounding new trains and other upgrades for Amtrak's Milwaukee-to-Chicago Hiawatha line.
Starting with former Republican Gov. Tommy G. Thompson in the late 1990s, state officials had pushed to extend the Hiawatha to Madison, as a segment of a high-speed Chicago-to-Twin Cities route and as part of a broader plan to connect Midwestern cities with fast, frequent trains. They appeared to succeed in 2010, when former Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle's administration won an $810 million federal grant to build the 110-mph route.
But Republican Scott Walker attacked the project in his gubernatorial campaign, arguing the state should not pay the train's operating costs. After Walker won, the U.S. Department of Transportation yanked the grant and distributed all but $2 million to other states.
By then, however, the Doyle administration had already spent some $9 million of the rail funds and was on the hook for more than $5 million in cancellation fees and other commitments. At the time, Walker said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood had assured him the state would be reimbursed for those costs.
Federal officials fulfilled that pledge earlier this month, according to spokesmen for the state...
Wisconsin and Minnesota each put up $240,000 for the study's first phase. But then Wisconsin pulled out, with Transportation Secretary Mark Gottlieb saying this state would focus on improving the Hiawatha and the Empire Builder, the other Amtrak line through Wisconsin.
(Excerpt) Read more at jsonline.com ...
Wisconsin high speed train ping
FReep Mail me if you want to be on, or off, this Wisconsin interest ping list.
Interesting that this train boondoggle goes all the way back to Thompson (and now he wants to represent us in the Senate).
Meanwhile the mayor of Troy Michigan faces recall for turning down money for it.
Well, they were pretty mad at Scott Walker too, but the union fight overshadowed the train cancellation.
Hey, why not reimburse them? It’s not like that money belongs to anyone and there’s a boatload of it just sitting there doing nothing.