By Jack Zemlicka
Dolan Media Newswires
MILWAUKEE, WI — In response to the recession, earlier this year several law firms in Wisconsin created practice groups to help clients evaluate potential benefits of the federal government’s stimulus package.
Firms assembled teams of business, tax and environmental attorneys to answer questions about where the money could be spent and when.
But during the summer, Madison firm Axley Brynelson LLP formed a five-attorney group to track the progress of a plan to develop a high-speed passenger rail line in the state.
“We started to get some questions from clients, especially municipalities, about what this kind of system would mean if it became a reality,” said attorney John C. Mitby, co-chair of the Rail and Transportation Team.
In October, Gov. Jim Doyle submitted an application to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) for federal funds to develop a $651.8 million high-speed passenger rail line between Milwaukee and Madison.
The state application is for a discretionary rail grant under the Track 2 Corridor Programs of the FRA’s High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program. A total of $8 billion in federal funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act are available for distribution.
If the grant is approved, Mitby anticipates a surge in real estate, contracts, government and safety regulation and land use legal work.