By Joe Lanane
Despite assurances from Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker that he will “slow down the train,” high-speed rail advocates say they will not be deterred if the Milwaukee County executive is elected.
Bruce Speight, director of the Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group, said rail supporters will work with the elected governor and state legislator — whoever they may be – to ensure the proposed Milwaukee-to-Madison line continues its path toward completion.
“Regardless what happens Nov. 2, we’re going to give consumers the options they’re asking for and need,” Speight said.
During discussions on the state’s economic future, Speight said the majority of Wisconsin residents supported high-speed rail — despite a June 2010 Public Policy Forum poll that suggested only 41 percent of southeastern Wisconsin residents favor the initiative.
“The way our political decisions are made depends on what the public wants; also what’s vital to building our economy,” he said.
If high-speed rail’s future hinges on public opinion, then much work remains for Speight’s advocacy group, Stand Up For Trains Wisconsin. This project has become one of the major political issues this election season, and a recent poll gives Walker a 51 to 42 percent advantage over his Democratic rival, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.
Like it or not, the results of this election may serve as a referendum of public support against high-speed rail. Nonetheless, that will not stop train supporters from endorsing the Milwaukee-to-Madison train long after the election is over.[polldaddy poll=”3880068″]
Joe Lanane is a staff writer at The Daily Reporter. He hasn’t yet voted in the above poll.