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11/8/2010



Rail News: High-Speed Rail

Doyle: Walker, USDOT need to discuss HSR's future in Wisconsin


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Four days after ordering a work stoppage on a portion of the high-speed rail project between Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle today issued a formal statement on his reasoning for halting the work.

On Nov. 4, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation halted work on the line, two days after Scott Walker was elected as the state’s next governor. Walker has said he will kill the project once he takes office in January.

Although construction work is ready to begin immediately and Wisconsin DOT could spend or obligate hundreds of millions dollars for the project in the next two months, the project “will only be successful in the long run if the state of Wisconsin and the U.S. Department of Transportation are strong partners,” Doyle said in a prepared statement. “For that reason, I have put the project on pause, so the U.S. DOT and governor-elect can confer about the future of the high-speed rail project.”

If Walker continues to oppose the project, USDOT will give the $810 million earmarked for the Milwaukee-Madison line to another state for high-speed rail development, Doyle said.

However, there are consequences if Walker chooses to terminate the project. More than 400 Wisconsin workers who were scheduled to work on the project could be laid off. In addition, the state would need to repay the federal government more than $14 million in high speed-related expenses incurred during the past six months, and $82 million in upgrades to the Chicago-to-Milwaukee Hiawatha line no longer would be eligible for federal assistance, Doyle said.

“It is my understanding that in the coming days, the U.S. Department of Transportation will reach out to Governor-elect Scott Walker about the project so that he fully understands these consequences,” he said.

To read the full statement, follow this link.


Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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