Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Home / Government / Brookfield mayor: ‘High-speed rail is dead in Wisconsin’

Brookfield mayor: ‘High-speed rail is dead in Wisconsin’

By Joe Lanane

The fate of a proposed high-speed rail station in Brookfield could be determined this week, but many city officials say the decision already has been made.

Brookfield Mayor Steven Ponto

Brookfield Mayor Steven Ponto

Brookfield Mayor Steven Ponto said state transportation officials want to meet Thursday to review updated construction cost estimates for the depot.

The proposed Milwaukee-to-Madison high-speed route is scheduled to include stops in Brookfield and Watertown. Both stations initially were to be financed with federal stimulus money, but in September the Wisconsin Department of Transportation suggested Brookfield pay $7 million of the $12.9 million project there. Ponto tabled action on the suggestion, insisting that Brookfield delay a decision until after Tuesday’s election.

Ponto said the election of Gov.-elect Scott Walker, who has said he would kill the high-speed rail project upon taking office, suggests the state will work to reverse Gov. Jim Doyle’s agreement last weekend to commit all $810 million in federal stimulus money to be spent on the project.

“It may take awhile for government to catch up to political reality, which, in my opinion, is that high-speed rail is dead in Wisconsin,” Ponto said. “The voters trumped anything the Doyle administration has done.”

If Walker is unable to overturn Doyle’s agreement, Ponto said he would oppose a train station in Brookfield if local taxpayers would be required to cover construction costs.

WisDOT officials were unavailable to immediately comment on revised project costs.

The proposed high-speed rail stop in Brookfield.

The proposed high-speed rail stop in Brookfield.

Brookfield Alderman Scott Berg said he is confident Walker will stick to his campaign promise. That will make Brookfield’s decision easier, he said, despite Doyle’s attempt to push the project forward before leaving office in January.

“I am fairly confident this will be all over in just a few months with very little action from the city of Brookfield’s part,” Berg said. “Those contracts that were signed typically have some sort of escape clause.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *