Donald wrote:I think truly high speed rail would be a good thing in the right environment (ie., where there is enough density to generate high ridership), but I'm at a loss to explain why medium speed rail to Madison makes any sense. Doesn't it make more sense to build out and try out a real high speed rail line?
I agree with this. I'd back properly implemented city-to-city "high speed" rail if it was presented and implemented that way over time. That's not what Wisconsinites got over the past 4 years. We got a mediocre idea backed by mediocre press coverage that would have benefited few people during a time when so many other better ideas deserved energy, input, work, and publicity. Slow speed passenger rail was mostly a "Get it and do it now!" rush job facilitated by timing events in DC.
So would I, but the price tag for TGV style rail can be staggering: something on the order of $ 39 million per mile. That would put the price tag of the entire CHI - MKE - MSN - St. Paul segment at some $ 16.8 billion, alone. Plus, the French and other Europeans have abackbone system of conventional speed passenger rail to augment their higher speed service, and had conventional speed rail before considering to go to speeds in excess of 180 mph.
As the cliché goes, one has to walk before one runs, and run before one can sprint.
One other reminder: this segment is not about just Madison and Milwaukee. This is intended to be an important link in the nine state Midwestern Chicago Hub system, some 3,000 miles. It would connect Madison, by rail, to Saint Paul, Kansas City, Saint Louis, Omaha, Louisville, Indianapolis, Cincinatti, Cleveland, and detroit (and, possibly, Winnipeg, MB, maybe). WI has worked for a decade and a half on this. It is seriously wrong for Walker to throw all of that away.
MWRRS planning shows that once completed, the Chicago hub HSR will be second to only the profitable NE corridor in terms of potential ridership. While if you just look at the first link between Madison and Milwuakee, the numbers don't justify that effort in isolation.
Walker has deceitfully framed the rail issue in a way that has prevented the public from being exposed to the information that shows the larger benefits of the system. In doing so, he is destroying a great opportunity to grow the regional economy. Walker has deceitfully, disingenuously, chosen short term political gain over long term prosperity.