Follow up on the ridiculous Republican rail opposition in Wisconsin
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told Wisconsin’s governor-elect, Scott Walker, that the federal government will take back the $810 million in stimulus funding granted to the state for a high-speed rail line between Milwaukee and Madison if Mr. Walker doesn’t soften his opposition to the project.
“I respect the power of governors to make decisions for their states,” Mr. LaHood wrote to Mr. Walker. “There seems to be some confusion, however, about how these high-speed rail dollars can be spent. For this reason, I would like to set the record straight: None of the money provided to Wisconsin may be used for road or highway projects, or anything other than high-speed rail. Consequently, unless you change your position, we plan to engage in an orderly transition to wind down Wisconsin’s project so that we do not waste taxpayers’ money.”
…The Obama administration announced in January that $8 billion of stimulus funding would go toward building 13 high-speed passenger-rail networks across the U.S. Two weeks ago, the federal government separately awarded an additional $2.4 billion for high-speed rail projects nationwide.
On Monday, the U.S. Transportation Department said that in addition to the grants for high-speed rail, Wisconsin has received more than $703.7 million in separate stimulus funding for other road, bridge, highway, transit and airport projects.
(click to continue reading Funding for Wisconsin Rail Project in Jeopardy, LaHood Warns – WSJ.com.)
Scott Walker seems to be confused, as Wisconsin already has incoming federal dollars earmarked to be used to shore up roads and bridges. I wonder if he’s even thought his opposition through, or if it just is a convenient campaign slogan, meaningless, in other words.
While I would like there to be high-speed rail to Madison (or any rail, actually), if the rail line ignored Wisconsin, and just went directly to Minneapolis, I could live with that.