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Walker talks high-speed rail during White House visit

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Republican Gov.-elect Scott Walker says actions will speak louder than words when it comes to whether the Obama administration will let Wisconsin use $810 million earmarked for a high-speed rail line for other purposes.

Walker and other incoming governors were at the White House on Thursday to meet with the president and members of his cabinet.

High-speed rail came up during a meeting with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. Ohio Gov.-elect John Kasich asked if the money for his state could be redirected for freight trains.

Walker said Friday LaHood didn’t directly answer the question, but whether that means there’s a possibility the money could be redirected remains to be seen.

Walker wants to use Wisconsin’s money directed for a train line between Madison and Milwaukee for roads instead.

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One comment

  1. Well, the only reason that Wisconsin “has” that money is that the state government applied for it, for the purpose of using it to establish passenger rail connection to Madison. The only reason the feds granted the money was to establish a passenger rail connection to Madison.

    Leaving aside the detail that Wisconsin already has $700 million in highway money from ARRA, what Walker proposes is like a kid who gets a fellowship to go to college and then decides that he’d rather buy a car with the money.

    Look: nobody is forcing $810 million on Wisconsin; WIsconsin asked for it, and it was granted, over many competing applications, in large part because the project being funded is the product of fifteen years of careful planning and development. (I often get the impression that many people, Walker preeminently, think that the Madison Project was something that Doyle and Cieslewicz clapped together at the last minute to take advantage of Obamacash. Far, far from it.)

    As for Rep. Petri’s idea of applying the money to “deficit reduction”, well, that’s all the rage these days, but note that the deficit is projected to be $1.2 trillion (down from the year before, also note). $810 million may sound like a lot of money, but it equals 0.0007 of that deficit.

    So: what’s the better use for the money? Whittle the deficit down by 0.0007, or build a modern transportation system for two of the three biggest population centers of the state? (Just curious.)

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