Back before then-President-elect Barack Obama formally revealed his ambitious plan to connect the Midwest through high-speed rail, there were already efforts under way to bring the Milwaukee Intermodal Station train shed into federal compliance.
Fast forward two years and all of a sudden these necessary updates fall under divisive political scrutiny. This comes in the wake of a tight-knit Wisconsin gubernatorial race that just so happens to feature Milwaukee-area officials on opposite sides of the political spectrum.
Now the project essential to preserving Milwaukee’s preexisting train lines will also, coincidentally, benefit a proposed high-speed rail line from Milwaukee to Madison. Political debate aside, these updates had to happen — that is, of course, if residents wanted to see the Milwaukee train station remain open.
The train shed not only fails to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, but its emergency exits do not meet ADA, Homeland Security or fire code requirements.
And now that federal dollars have been allotted to not only bridge the gap between Madison and Milwaukee but also improve the existing Hiawatha corridor, the timing to modify this station could not be more ideal.
Any arguments against the train shed renovation fail to recognize federal requirements that must be addressed by WisDOT (even WisDOT agrees that any politics waged against this project fail to take this into account).
Joe Lanane is a staff writer at The Daily Reporter. He has a copy of the delinquent tax bill on the station.