Associated Press – November 9, 2010 3:34 PM ET
CHICAGO (AP) – Illinois transportation officials say they’ll take the $810 million in federal high-speed rail funds that Wisconsin Gov.-elect Scott Walker has said he’ll reject.
Walker made opposing a Milwaukee-Madison rail project a key part of his successful campaign against his Democratic opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett who supported it.
Illinois has received $1.2 billion in high-speed rail funding. Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig says the state could make improvements to the Chicago-St. Louis corridor with Wisconsin’s money.
That seems like an excellent idea to me. Whatever you do, don’t send any more HSR money to Florida. I know it pleases the big media company that owns the big attraction at Orlando, and I know from personal experience that highway traffic between Tampa and Orlando is a nightmare. Still, Florida is a southern state that is fundamentally hostile to any form of transportation other than highways.
The Illinois-St. Louis corridor is comparable to Paris-London and will become a real success story if it is ever completed. Illinois actually wants to build the project and they should be rewarded for that desire and a solid history of supporting state funded trains.
Now, a “true confession.” I have a lingering bad feeling about running even fast trains from Madison to Milwaukee. I am not intimately familiar with the logistics, but one must suspect that the route is winding and full of hills. Madison is the state capitol, but it is a small town. Does the potential ridership exist to support this service?
Send that dough to the Land of Lincoln.