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View from around the state: Continuing to refuse to listen

Here’s a lesson in how politics is done, more evidence — as if any were needed — why everyday citizens get fed up with the process and those who practice it.

In a hurry-up meeting two weekends ago, federal and Wisconsin officials worked out an agreement committing the state to spend the full $810 million stimulus payment on a Madison-to-Milwaukee passenger rail proposal. The rail plan is a favorite of President Obama and outgoing Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle.

Then, on Tuesday, Wisconsin voters fired Democrats by electing Republican Scott Walker as the next governor and handing Republicans majorities in both the Assembly and Senate. Walker has been on record throughout the campaign vowing he would kill the rail plan and look into reallocating the funds for more traditional infrastructure, like highways.

A spokesperson for Wisconsin Transportation Secretary Frank Busalacchi scoffed at the very notion anyone might think the timing of the rail agreement had anything to do with Tuesday’s election.

“We are merely trying to get the money obligated so the work can begin,” the spokesperson said.

Let us translate that message for voters: Not only did you vote the wrong people into office, the Doyle administration thinks you are too stupid to figure out that two plus two is still four.

That kind of disrespect is intolerable.

On the merits, the Beloit Daily News previously has opposed this nearly billion-dollar boondoggle. There is no demand for the train route. Projections call for taxpayers to spend millions every year subsidizing ridership. Referring to it as “high-speed rail” is laughable. An individual driving the speed limit from Madison to Milwaukee easily will beat the train.

No, what this amounts to is another ideological ploy, engineered to tap your tax dollars for payment.

And, seeing that the people’s will was about to be demonstrated at the ballot box, the partisans scrambled in an effort to thwart that will.

The intent is to send the train far enough down the track that Walker can’t easily recall it.

The Governor-elect should accept that challenge, explain clearly to Wisconsin citizens exactly how the Doyle and Obama administrations conspired in an effort to skirt the electoral process, and stop payment on the check. With full control of the legislature come January, Walker should have the clout to make his decision stick.

This is what’s wrong with government — elite career politicians who are unwilling to subordinate their preferences to the directives of the people.

Voters all across America spoke clearly on Tuesday. They said, “Listen up!”

This corrupt power play with the train shows some politicians are still shouting back: “No!”

Beloit Daily News

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