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The Taxpayers Of Wisconsin Just Got Railroaded By Governor Walker

A high-speed failure leaves taxpayers $65 million in the hole.

We all remember the high-speed rail debate that helped propel Walker to his current position as dictator, I mean Governor, right? Walker was against high speed rail, citing the state’s burden of annual operating costs of approximately $7.5 million as his reasoning for rejecting federal rail funds, despite the possible creation of hundreds of jobs in the new industry. He won based on the promise of "saving taxpayer dollars".

But a report released December 8th from the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau came with some astounding news (Click here for the analysis):

Wisconsin taxpayers are on the hook for between $65 - $84 MILLION to pay for required annual maintenance costs, including equipment and a temporary facility to house the state’s already-purchased Talgo train cars, design engineering, real estate acquisition and construction of a permanent maintenance facility and required improvements to the existing downtown Milwaukee train station to bring the facility into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Revised estimates, and the fact that federal aid would have covered almost 90% of our annual costs would have reduced the state’s yearly expenditures to as little as $750,000. If you do the math, Wisconsin would have gotten 112 years of maintenance on the high speed rail line for the same amount it is paying for work that would have been covered under the federal allocation. ~ http://www.wisdems.org/news/press/view/2011-12-scott-walkers-refusal-of-federal-rail-money-leaves-w

If I were looking for a job, I would rather find work on a high speed rail than in the coal mines of northern Wisconsin. What about you? And just how many jobs were lost when Walker pushed away the high speed rail? At it's height of production in 2012, estimates show that nearly 4,700 people would have been working on the project. Add that to the fact that Wisconsin led the nation in 9,700 jobs lost the other month plus the $65 MILLION we have to fork out for Walker's railroad buddies (remember the illegal campaign donations from WI & Southern Railroad?), and Scott Walker is pissing off people left and right.

I can guarantee that you will not hear this news on 620 WTMJ or 1130. Charile Sykes and Mark Behling cherry pick info and leave right-wingers short-sighted and uninformed. Thank God for NPR and Milwaukee Public Radio.

http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/111362019.html ~ article about jobs associated with the high speed rail project.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

James R Hoffa December 15, 2011 at 06:14 AM
@Bren – 1) What does any of this have to do with the light-rail project, which was the emphasis of both the original commentary and J.B.'s post? Once again, you're doing nothing but spreading leftist propaganda in an attempt to agitate, and yet you have the nerve to claim to be an independent. Please, you're nothing but a joke and a hypocritical partisan hack when you do this, so just admit your bias already! 2) Walker never claimed to be perfect while he was Milwaukee Co Exec. In fact, during his campaign for governor, he said that he would transition what he learned while Exec so that when he became governor he hopefully wouldn't make the same kind of mistakes again while enacting the good things that worked while serving at that post. Is it any coincidence that both Barrett and Abele have used the provisions of Act 10 to balance their budgets or that Abele is basically staying the course that Walker set the county on? Come on Bren, be honest here! 3) Remember how Walker gave back approximately $.5M in salary and benefits when he was Milwaukee Co Exec? What current state Democratic lawmakers have ever done anything like this? Instead of using a balanced approach to your off topic tirade, as a true independent would do, again all you have done here is trash conservatives while trusting in liberals.
James R Hoffa December 15, 2011 at 06:15 AM
4) And you think that Tom Barrett would have made a better governor despite all of his "foolishness" that cost the City of Milwaukee a lot of money? So exactly what independent or third party candidate did you vote for in the gubernatorial election?
NoToWalkersCronies December 15, 2011 at 07:20 AM
@Bren: I know about the Tom Bode incident, but I doubt it is common knowledge in these parts. Hopefully justice will prevail, but if the Prosser he said/she said choking incident is any indication, I have my doubts. I have recently personally been shown not to put much trust into those that are paid to protect us...
Lyle Ruble December 18, 2011 at 04:46 PM
@J. B. Schmidt...I find it curious that arguments are now centering on what jobs are acceptable and which ones are not. I don't remember that Tommy Thompson ever argued against the High Speed Rail, but in fact supported it. At the time that Doyle was able lure Talgo to build their facility here, it was counted as a coup with the promise of continuing jobs and expansion. Walker made a feeble attempt to get the earmarked funds and divert them after killing the agreement. The governor was either extremely naive or just plain foolish. I suspect the latter to be the case. I look at the arguments and it's meaningless to rehash the past events. What has happened, happened. Continuing costs associated with the governor's decision is something we have to accept and pay. Statements made about how Walker has had to clean up Doyle's actions shouldn't be news to anyone. Doyle had to clean up Thompson/McCallum messes. This is simply S.O.P.
J. B. Schmidt December 18, 2011 at 07:59 PM
@Lyle If the past is the past, then please explain the recall? If what Doyle did is meaningless and can't be counted against current decisions, then lets close the door on the removal of collective bargaining priviledges. I am against any train decision. Our transportation cuture is not designed to run around trains. This is easily pointed out in California's money pit and the fact that no other train in other states is successfull. (success to be termined by self sustainability) Thompson has more liberal tendencies then people like to admit. He was also blessed with much higher tax revenue then Doyle. The economy was dying when he attempted to push the train through. His building costs were not accurate (see California's money pit) and the future cost of maintence were undercalculated (see every other train system). I am choosing jobs based on their ability to help the economy. Public sector jobs are a drain on the economy. Talgo only brought 80 jobs to the economy, at what sarcrifise? Doyle completely ignored wisconsin comapnies like Super Steel who never got the opportunity to bid. As for Walker's decision. I find it funny, that he was attacked for not taking the money and attacked for trying taking some of the money. Liberals will attack him for anything; therefore your comments as to his mindset in making the decision are poinltess. Yes, Doyle started with a deficit and did abolutely nothing to solve it in 8 years.

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