Ohio and Wisconsin Lose High-Speed Rail Money

Sam Newberg - Joe Urban's picture

Wisconsin and Ohio lost their combined $1.2 billion in stimulus dollars to make passenger rail improvements that were intended to eventually be part of the Midwest high-speed rail network. According to the New York Times, the funding will be rerouted to other states, primarily California and Florida.

CNU advocates for a complete transportation network, including high-quality intercity rail service, and believe the loss of rail funding is a major setback for not only Wisconsin and Ohio, but surrounding states. As the Milwaukee Jounal Sentinel's Opinion page points out, the route between Madison and Milwaukee that was to have received funding was not an end in and of itself (the incoming Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker questioned who would ride it), but part of a larger planned network connecting the Chicago to the Twin Cities, St. Louis, Detroit and other major midwestern cities.

This is a major loss for Madison, which will have to wait to even be linked at Amtrak at all. Face it, who really enjoys connecting flights at O'Hare? A quality rail link would help eliminate the need to do so, and reduce congestion at that air transportation hub. Furthermore, high-speed, efficient rail service connects the walkable urban cores of major cities; not the best solution for all travelers, but a decidedly new urbanism-friendly choice.


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