WISCONSINREPORT.COM (11/05/2009) - Senators Russ Feingold and Herb Kohl are urging the Obama administration to support a Wisconsin proposal for high-speed passenger rail service from Milwaukee to Madison. In a letter sent to Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Feingold and Kohl stated their support for Wisconsin’s request for federal funding to develop a high-speed passenger rail line to connect the two largest Wisconsin cities.
The senators support Wisconsin’s shovel-ready proposal, which will create thousands of jobs, stimulate local economies, address traffic congestion and help the environment by reducing carbon dioxide emissions and gas usage.
“Expanding Wisconsin’s high-speed passenger rail service would be a boon to our economy, helping to create jobs when we need them the most,” Senator Russ Feingold said.
“Wisconsin has been planning for this expansion for years and the state’s shovel-ready proposal provides a common sense investment to create economic activity and also address longstanding problems like traffic congestion in a responsible way," Senator Feingold continued.
"I applaud Governor Doyle for his efforts and I will continue to work with the governor, Senator Kohl and others to help make this a reality,” Feingold added.
“I’m proud to join with my colleagues in fighting for Wisconsin’s fair share of the federal stimulus dollars," said Senator Herb Kohl.
A Milwaukee to Madison high-speed rail corridor has numerous benefits, including job creation, easing congestion and reducing harmful carbon emissions," Kohl pointed out.
"This application is a strong first step toward realizing those benefits and represents the State’s long-standing commitment to providing the best possible options for the travelling public,” Kohl said.
As outlined in Feingold and Kohl’s letter, the Madison to Milwaukee rail service is estimated to create nearly 13,000 jobs in Wisconsin by 2013, reduce automobile trips by 7.8 million over 10 years, save an estimated 27.6 million gallons of fuel and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 269,000 tons.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, better known as the stimulus, has $8 billion in funding available to invest in high-speed rail across the country. Wisconsin is requesting $651.8 million in federal funds to develop the rail service.
The Wisconsin proposal would build off the existing successful Hiawatha Amtrak service that already links Milwaukee and Chicago by extending the service to Madison with additional stops in Brookfield, Oconomowoc and Watertown.