Tuesday, June 22, 2010From an article by Ilissa Gilmore in the Sheboygan Press:
ASHWAUBENON — An advocacy group said Wednesday that the high-speed rail system that will connect several Midwest cities will benefit the environment and provide more than 9,000 jobs in Wisconsin.
Members of the Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group student chapters came to the National Railroad Museum in Ashwaubenon to promote the $823 million project that will connect Green Bay, Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison, and Minneapolis-St. Paul, among other cities.
WISPIRG — which works on economic, environmental, and social concerns — is conducting its second annual tour for the system. The group also has visited Eau Claire, La Crosse and Madison and will hit Oshkosh, Milwaukee and Racine.
States need to invest in railways instead of more roads and highways, said WISPIRG student leader Sarah Seibold.
"The Midwest is behind the East Coast and Europe and Asia in railway travel," said Patricia Terry, a science professor at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. "Rails are needed to maintain our economic competitiveness."
An expanded rail system in Wisconsin would produce 9,000 new, permanent jobs, and it would reduce dependency on oil because railroads are 23 percent more fuel efficient than airplanes and 40 percent more efficient than single-passenger cars, Seibold said.
The rail system will use diesel gas before eventually moving to electricity, she said, but it would still be more efficient than standard modes of transportation. With oil dependency and gas prices on the rise, rail travel is a favorable alternative, Terry said.