State keeps working on Milwaukee-Madison railroad

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

From an article by in The Daily Reporter:
Wisconsin does not have enough money to pay for the estimated $500 million Milwaukee-Madison high-speed rail line, but the state might kick off the project anyway.

“I keep going back to the fact that this is a multiyear project,” said Randall Wade, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s passenger rail manager. “There are things we can do immediately, and I think we should start as soon as possible.”

But before focusing on the Milwaukee-Madison line, WisDOT must consider capacity upgrades to its Milwaukee-Chicago service, which Wade said sets ridership records every month.

Gov. Jim Doyle put $80 million in the state budget to spark Wisconsin involvement in the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative, a multistate effort to coordinate and expand high-speed rail use. WisDOT, Wade said, will use that money for upgrades to the Chicago-Milwaukee line and the Milwaukee-Watertown portion of the line to Madison.

The state agency also asked for $137 million in federal stimulus money for high-speed rail projects. Although Wade said that money could pay for track and signal improvements along the Chicago-Milwaukee-Madison route, the combined $217 million would only be enough to establish a passenger-ready line as far as Watertown.

“(Finishing it) is still going to be dependent upon federal funding,” he said.

If finishing the high-speed rail line between Watertown and Madison takes several years, it could test the patience of people in the capital region.


Michaelok said...

One marvels at the transportation system in Europe, which can zip you across a city like Vienna in minutes, while the SUV drivers are still trying to find a parking space, and figure out if putting two one hr parking slips on their dashboard will avoid a ticket. Much has been said about this of course, but these complex systems weren't built in a day, one must start somewhere, so I like the idea here for Milwaukee - start small, with a plan. But one must start. I'm sure many will be thinking of this as they try to navigate through the isthmus, with University Ave, as of today, turned into a one lane road.