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Letter to the editor: High-speed rail nonsense

To the editor:

Let’s ask ourselves: How did Wisconsin get in this mess?

The current administration in Washington put taxpayer money out for job stimulus. The mistake in Washington was to specify and target specific types of projects.

The types of projects were determined by anti-fossil fuel, anti-car social thinking, not what is best for our country, like high-paying construction jobs on our roads and bridges most in need of maintenance and safety upgrades.

High-speed rail is only successful where there is density. We don’t have density.

If high-speed rail was cost effective, commercial enterprise would be running rail now. Instead, rail went out of vogue because there was no money being made transporting passengers.

Why? Because we want to be in cars. And if we want to be in cars, who is the arrogant, socialist current federal administration to tell me, “Get out of your car and get on a train”?

This is yet another outrageous controlling and manipulating power grab by the federal government to take away our rights and liberties and control and direct our lives. And they are using our Federal Treasury to do it to us. Well, Mr. President, tell Congress, “We are not your ATM.”

Enough is enough. Take a stand, and meet me at the next Tea Party rally. We can avoid a second revolution in this country if we make our voices heard.

Larry Michael
producer,
The Brehmer Agency

14 comments

  1. I don’t normally engage Tea Partiers and their ilk in any kind of dialogue, but for the stray reader: Larry Michaels’ arguments are typical roadbuilder propaganda, and it’s become quite clear who and what is firing up that gullible bunch.

    They’re all for highpaying construction jobs on roads and bridges, but not highpaying construction jobs on railroads, even though it’s almost a trillion dollars in stimulus funds for perhaps 13,000 unemployed skilled workers.

    Rail is far, far from being “out of vogue”, Mr. Michaels. And any opposition to rail we hear is fueled – literally – by Big Oil, roadbuilders,asphalt and related promoters and their political sock-puppets who they so heavily support.

    How much money do the highways and airports “make” transporting passengers? We support both of those heavily whether or not we use them. And remember all the cash bailouts to the airlines? And how about Wisconsin being a donor state for decades because we’ve been so happy to build all these other rail systems for other cities in other states? Now that we’re getting money from them for our long-awaited, long-promised project, Michaels complains. But then again if he’s a Tea Partier, consider the source.

  2. Democratic Socialist Bus Rider

    If I hear one more idiot like this throwing socialism around without a clear understanding of what socialism is I swear I will just puke from the odor of stupidity. First of all there is a good chance either one of your parents, grand parent or great grand parents voted for a (democratic) socialist if your from SE Wisconsin. So, shut the hell up about socialism.

    Democratic Socialism is what brought Milwaukee and most of this region recognition throughout the world for the beautiful communities that consisted of neighborhood parks and excellent public services like sanitation and transit. Learn your history and read a book. Stop listening to these morons on NeoCon radio and TV (FOX LIES).

    I have no problem with real conservatives but these fricken NeoCon nut jobs are on my last nerve.

    Look, I think the Tea Party has some EXTREMELY legitimate concerns. The government is out of control spending money we don’t have. But here’s the rub—it’s been going on for the last ten years and these are the people that voted for the morons that screwed us in the first place. Yes folks the Republicans you voted for got us here.

    They literally let 7 Billion dollars just blow away in the Iraq desert and borrowed trillions of dollars from China who now owns our *** and we can’t do anything that offends them or they just take everything we own.

    So, now that money is actually being use to improve the infrastructure of our own country these people that were fine with Bush going “Little miss put it on the card crazy” want to ***** about making life better and building for the future. WHAT brand of crack are you people smoking? Really!

    This isn’t about taking your cars away. It’s about giving others option and bringing visitors and tourist to our region. And for those of you that are disillusioned thinking that your user tax pays for the highway—it only pays 10-12% for STATE highways. It doesn’t pay for city streets or roads. They rest is paid for by property tax, sales tax and other forms of revenue collection.

    If you’re going to be concerned about anything you should be concerned about our democracy being turned into a Fascist regime. That’s right the only difference between Mussolini’s regime and ours is the Corporations just pay someone to represent them in congress and the senate. Corporations run this country and for those of you that don’t get it—that is Fascism.

    It won’t be too long before gas prices rise up past $10 a gallon and alternative transit will be needed for people to get to school, work and shop. In many ways this is like the first railroads that were laid in the late 1800’s. Cities and towns that were passed up by they railroad became ghost towns. Towns turned in to cities and cities turned into ghost towns. It’s time to start thinking a little further than your nose.

  3. SocratesChildren

    Larry has a basic pair of facts wrong. Since World War II the federal government has heavily subsidized roads, not rail. Rail was private, paid taxes and was controlled in its fares as a public utility. The interstate system was built during this period and eventually the private interests were forced out of the passenger rail business. Amtrak was set up as a way of maintaining an essential service for a few routes, mostly in the northeast.

    The subsidization of cars was highly effective to the point that private companies could no longer provide service by trains. Small developments in rail have proven that rail is competitive, cost effective, and greener than cars. Now the government is poised to strengthen rail as a national transportation strategy.

    Rail, too, will provide opportunities for a varied work force, while reducing our use of fossil fuels and making clean air a more attainable goal.

  4. I want to point out the advantages of high speed rail to me and many others. This investment will be part of a link to many cities in the midwest. It is not about saving ten minutes getting to and from Madison, although when I think of relaxing on a fast moving train instead of wondering when the next newly released drunk driver might t-bone me, that thought has it’s appeal.
    It can and will reduce congestion on the highways and reduce the need for building more and bigger systems. I will reduce the carbon footprint. It is safer than road travel and I believe it is more cost effective within a integrated transportation system, than simply driving everyplace. Note that this will not preclude people from driving. Note, that I will still be substantially subsidizing highway construction and maintenance.
    I’m not anti-car, I’m not a socialist. I do not want to see our highways and bridges going to ruin. I say here, as I’ve said elsewhere , We need to develop a comprehensive transportation plan that includes road maintenance and building a robust public transportation system that is integrated and seamless.

  5. It would be really refreshing, just to be wrong on the substance of the issue. Instead we’re, a ‘gullible bunch’, ‘sock-puppets’,’ idiots’, ‘stupid’, ‘morons’,’ neocons’,’ fricken neocon nut jobs’, ‘crack smokers’, and ‘fascists’, who are told to “shut the hell up.”
    Thanks Socrates and Jeff for taking the high road in stating your case.
    Having said that, I haven’t heard anyone address or rebutt the writers main points, which are undeniable:
    >Density.
    >Cost-effectiveness.
    >Big Government expansion.
    You express very creatively your despise of Tea Partiers, and D.S.B.R., it only took six words in, to start your hate-filled rant.
    Yes, the last 8 years most of us were indeed, asleep at the switch, and we didn’t hold our representatives accountable. That’s precisely why this is happening now and in a big way. They, in their recklessness and recent arrogance, especially passing healthcare they way they did, have awoken a sleeping giant. No, we’re not all ‘road builders, and big oil people’, most of us have never been ‘politically active’, even a little bit other than to regularly vote. But there is a tipping point that’s been reached and we’re simply fed up with our increasingly bloated, over-bearing, out of control government. Not unlike the founders of this country, and their revolt, which apparently, you would have not supported.
    So, if you don’t like the use of the ‘Socialist’ word…at a time when government is taking over banking, and financial institutions, car companies, healthcare, and dictating energy policies based on a theory that fits their agenda (climate change, formerly known as global warming)….well if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck….
    I don’t know what you want us to call it, but what word might you suggest that would describe this any better?

  6. T.E.A., you seem to be one of the few followers who might have an open mind about the Tea Partiers, so I’ll say this in all sincerity: the Tea Party participants are being played like a piano by the special-interest Insiders. I know there is simmering dissatisfaction among the angry blue-collar crowd which struggles to meet its obligations each week, but look behind the curtain and see who’s pulling your/their strings without you even noticing. Meanwhile the GOP is rubbing their hands, hoping you’ll help sweep them into power next election, but they’re only one entity which stands to gain from all this misdirected anger, much of it invented for their purposes.

    The Tea Party people are being lied to, simple as that. It’s the oldest political trick in the book. A certain paperhanger got swept into national office across the ocean by being part of such tactics in 1933 and it changed the world forever, along with 50,000,000+ lives. And it all starts by playing on people’s fears and anger, and the Insiders are using you and your TP friends by playing on your basest fears and doubts using buzzword-doubletalk about taxes, expenses, freedoms and anything else that will scare the grassroots types.

    This anti-rail talk you read here is coming from those same Insiders who scared people into thinking that when smoking ends in business places in July, “they” will come after fatty foods and sweets next.

    Our area is the last major population center in the nation without passenger rail. This is a jobs program expected to employ 13,000 or so people, and it’s fully paid by the Feds, and if Wisconsin turned it down, some other state would grab it, and we’d STILL pay for it, only we wouldn’t HAVE it.

    If I can offer any advice it’s this: think for yourself. And spread the word.

  7. Karen, you seem to be one of the few followers who might have an open mind about the Democrats, so I’ll say this in all sincerity: the Democrat voters are being played like a piano by the special-interest Insiders. I know there is simmering dissatisfaction among the angry blue-collar crowd which struggles to meet its obligations each week, but look behind the curtain and see who’s pulling your/their strings without you even noticing. Meanwhile the Democrat leaders are rubbing their hands, hoping you’ll help them retain power next election, but they’re only one entity which stands to gain from all this misdirected anger, much of it invented for their purposes.

    The democrat voters are being lied to, simple as that. It’s the oldest political trick in the book. A certain paperhanger got swept into national office across the ocean by being part of such tactics in 1933 and it changed the world forever, along with 50,000,000+ lives. And it all starts by playing on people’s fears and anger, and the Insiders are using you and your democrat friends in the media by playing on your basest fears and doubts using buzzword-doubletalk about taxes, expenses, freedoms and anything else that will scare the grassroots types.

    This pro-rail talk you read here is coming from those same Insiders who reassured people that when smoking ends in business places in July, “they” will not come after fatty foods and sweets next.

    Our area is the least major population center in the nation without passenger rail, for good reason. This is a jobs program expected to employ 13,000 in the ‘dream scenario’, but realistically a couple thousand or so people, and it’s fully paid by the Feds, like magic, and if Wisconsin turned it down, some other state would grab it, and we’d STILL pay for it, only we wouldn’t HAVE it. It’s like a ‘gift card’ from Santa, it’s not real money.

    If I can offer any advice it’s this: think for yourself. And spread the word.

  8. Tea Partiers, so I’ll say this in all sincerity: the Tea Party participants are being played like a piano by the special-interest Insiders.

    No one’s playing me. I see clearly what is going on in Washington and don’t even think of telling me the Repubs were dragging their heals on health care reform. The Dems had to pull last minute stunts in order to get NP, HR and BHOs way.

    Let me see now, The high speed train, which is really a really fast train that will only go kind of fast, takes one from Milwaukee to Madison and drops them off at the airport. Then one needs to find a car, taxi or bus to get where they are going in Madison?

    If the above scenerio is anywhere near accurate, I’ll drive myself.

    And Why are we buying these train form Spain when I hear a train mfg in WI is going out of business due to lack of work?

    Way to go Doyle!

  9. “Socialism defined: ‘any of various economic and political theories
    advocating governmental ownership, administration, and/or control
    of the means of production and distribution of goods’.”
    “Nationalized under Obama-
    • All student loans
    • Banks
    • Insurance companies
    • Brokerages
    • General Motors
    • Health care industry”

  10. “D M” writes: “The high speed train, which is really a really fast train that will only go kind of fast, takes one from Milwaukee to Madison and drops them off at the airport.”

    I sincerely would like to know if where this came from. Madison’s not the end of the line, D M. The Milwaukee-Madison HSR train is *only the first leg* of the Milwaukee-Twin Cities HSR line, which will be up to full HSR speed by 2013.

    And then D M writes:

    “And Why are we buying these train form Spain when I hear a train mfg in WI is going out of business due to lack of work?”

    Talgo the *company* is Spanish but the trains will be assembled in Milwaukee, something like all those imported parts Harley-Davidson quietly buys and then assembles here. And Super Steel lost the bid but they might get some work on it anyways. All this is common knowledge.

  11. David A. Wessely

    Sitting in the “Sleeping Giant Crowd” i always find it surprising how simple common sense questions put forth regarding thediscussion are swept under the table !

    Where’s the cost effectiveness of ANY government program? We as citizens are asked to pay for products, services and structures with that might not ever be seen by our grandchildren; (who also are being sentenced to pay). Cost efffectness does not mean taxpayer subsidies in perpetuity to operate!

    Where’s the need for Milwaukee to Madison railway? Isn’t the current available forms of mass transit sufficient?

    How do residents of Green Bay, Minocqua, Hayward or Superior benefit from this Railway system ? Why are you taking the position these very same individuals and their children plus their childrens children be sentenced to pay for this?

    Could the point about “towns passed up” … “became ghost towns” be referiing to the beatiful areas.

    I still believe the “NEW” job counts are extremely in accurate; ticket prices will never even come near covering the operating costs; much less the initial construction costs; and this system will only serve a few not the many. So why call it a “MASS TRANSIT” system ?

    Oh yeah, do ghost writers come from ghost towns?

  12. David Wessely asks: “Where’s the need for Milwaukee to Madison railway?”

    Mr. Wessely: Ms. Jeffries just got done saying that Milwaukee-Madison will be only the first portion of the Milwaukee-Twin Cities high-speed line.

    As to people upstate benefitting from this line: probably not much unless they apply to work on it …. just like people along the line won’t ever directly benefit from all the money they’ve always paid into all the roads and schools and everything else the people in the rest of the state have always contributed to up their way.

  13. Eau Claire Reader

    Lou Rugani, please explain to me how “upstate” people benefit from the costly North-South freeway expansion or the Zoo Interchange debacle. The people “upstate” pay taxes like everyone else in Wisconsin. I cannot speak for you, but the majority of the property taxes I pay fund my local school, and pay for my city and county governments. “Upstate” Wisconsin is considered secondary to the bloated SE part of the state.

    And if the HSR connects Chicago to the Twin Cities via La Crosse, why should “upstate” people have to subsidize a rail line they’ll never have use for? David Wessely brings up some very good points, particularly since “upstate” may never see any benefit from HSR.

  14. Please take the time to actually read what I’d said, specifically in my last paragraph, Eau Claire Reader, thanks.

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