Wisconsin isn't on Board for Rail Service
We hope to see you all at CNU 19 in Madison, but if you want to arrive by train, you are sadly out of luck.
As reported in the Madison Capitol Times, the U.S. Government will not be including the Milwaukee to Chicago Hiawatha Line of Amtrak service in is latest round of funding. The state of Wisconsin requested $150 million in upgrades to the line, which is growing in popularity, increasing ridership by 6% last year to 783,000 riders.
This news is a shame for users of the line, but it comes on the heels of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker returning a $810 million grant awarded last year to expand service from Milwaukee to Madison as part of an effort to eventually connect high speed rail from Chicago to Minneapolis. That service would have enabled riders to travel from downtown Chicago or downtown Milwaukee to a proposed terminus in downtown Madison, just steps from the site if this year's CNU 19. Of course, if Walker had kept the $810 million, service would not have begun in time for CNU 19, but it is important to point out the improved transportation options the line would have provided.
The state of Wisconsin sent a clear signal they didn't see rail service a an important part of their future by turning back funding for the Milwaukee to Madison line, and the U.S. Government appears to have taken that as an indication that perhaps they are not deserving of upgraded service, even on an already proven successful line like Chicago to Milwaukee.
I guess if you want better rail service, you can't have one foot on the platform and one foot on the train, you have to get on board!
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