The numbers just don’t work. At least, none of the numbers I’ve seen with my own eyes, or have heard bandied about on local media (i.e., Mitch Henck’s show on WIBA-AM). It’s no coincidence that shortly after the earthquake at the polls last Tuesday, the Doyle administration took a step back from the train and halted things temporarily while they “study” it a bit more.
I disagree with many things Scott Walker has said (and implied) that he’s going to do when he takes office (the vague “put Madison on a diet”; the luddite view he holds of stem cell research; his absurdly inadequate Lieutenant Governor, and on and on) but I agree with him that this medium-speed train thing between Madison and Milwaukee is one of the biggest public boondoggles ever.
The attitude “but if we don’t take the money from the Feds (and just where DOES that money come from, really?) it will go to Florida or Georgia” doesn’t hold water with me. The train thing reminds me just a bit (here comes the unfair comparison) of that dandy present Jerry Frautschi and his wife gave the city.
Sure, the medium-speed rail project will create jobs. Damned expensive jobs. And it will likely never be close to self-sustaining. It won’t need just a small municipal boost, like the wonderful Goodman Pool, it will need millions and millions in subsidies from us, every year in the foreseeable future.
My generation has already piled up enough debt on our children’s future.
Thou shalt not press down upon the brow of the Wisconsinites this crown of railroad spikes; thou shalt not crucify Wisconsin on a cross of railroad ties.