Today in trains:  More people speak up in favor of Wisconsin’s high-speed rail project and they get a bunch of smoke and mirrors in return.

That’s right, much of today’s news about the train revolved around the fact that people don’t understand the logic behind cancelling the project.  The media discovered the Save the Train Facebook Page (up by 4,000 like since yesterday!) and Illinois feels sad for us because we are being so stupid with our train hate.  As one person asks in this clip: “Why shouldn’t you be taking advantage of the funding that should go to your state?” Great question. Our neighbor to the south also made a play for our new train factory.  More jobs lost because of the terrible threat of putting Wisconsinites on the hook for anywhere from less than $0.20 all the way up to $2.00 a year!  Even first cousin Minnesota in confused by their dim-witted relative, but Minnesota’s going ahead with their train  project.

Also Madison’s Mayor Dave went on record last night to be clear that he was open to working with the Walker administration on alternative funding mechanisms for the train’s yearly maintenance costs.  This would have been a great opportunity for Governor-elect Walker to say something like “because of new information related to costs for this project I am now open to negotiating with stakeholders on a rail project that would not burden state tax payers in the future.”  He could have said that by now. He could say he was committed to jobs before rhetoric. He would have four years for the remaining anti-train people to get over it…by then most of them would be.   But he didn’t do that.  Instead, he sent this letter to the Doyle administration, to ask if it would be okay if he could be Governor two months early, and also to remind people that he doesn’t know anything about the policies he doesn’t like.  Getting the support of 52% of 50% of the voters makes one King of Wisconsin!

 

From the Daily Cardinal

 

What is often being forgotten in the debate about the train project is that it is not really about cost.  Scott Walker is in favor of spending the money we are slated to receive from the feds, just not on train.  He is in favor of state-supported trains, just not this one.  The state could develop a number of creative ways to deal with the estimated $7.5 million yearly cost of the train.  For instance, the state could receive support from Madison, as Madison has said it would be willing to do give more money to the project.  There could be train cards or memberships–or just ask for supporters to donate $3 extra on their annual tax returns for crying out loud! I want the train so badly, I would even pay *gasp* $20 or even more extra on my taxes.  So I would pay my “burden” and the “burden” on 9 other people.  We can get it done if there are honest brokers on either side of the negotiating table.  Every day that this debate goes on, I question more and more whether we have an honest partner in our Governor-elect.

The good news is that people continue to be vocal in support of the train.  Watertown’s republican mayor continues to show support for the train because he believes it’s in his city’s best interests.  We need more business people, more republicans, more people outside of Madison to make it clear that they support the train (because Madison is apparently no longer part of Wisconsin).

News Links of Interest

Advocacy

Sierra Club Wisconsin – November 20th – Save the Train Events (Sierra Club Wisconsin is declaring November 20th a day of action on the train — learn how to plan or attend an event in your area)

Survey – Should Walker his plan to stop the train project

Sierra Club Wisconsin – Intercity Rail Letter Campaign

Poll: Should Wisconsin go ahead with plan for high-speed rail

Editorials

Tomah Journal – Editorial: Wisconsin open for business … except for mass transit

Randy’s Ramblings: Who’ll stop the train?

Walker’s plan for high-speed rail a huge fail

Blogs

Jeremy Bloom – Off the Rails II: GOP misreading Ayn Rand in blocking railroads

Mike Shafer – Opponents spew myths about high-speed rail

Matt Logan – Scott Walker stuck in the 70s

Myths about Madison-Milwaukee rail service – station and train ridership

Emily’s Post: Wisconsin high-speed rail supporters fight back

Rejecting high-speed rail will isolate Wisconsin

This time out could be useful for high-speed rail

Letters to the Editor

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


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