Transportation secretary: High-speed rail is ‘here to stay’

By Matthew Defour

Wisconsin State Journal

Amtrack Station by Fred Bartol

WATERTOWN – Responding to critics of a passenger rail line between Madison and Milwaukee – including the leading Republican candidates for governor who are vowing to stop the project – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Thursday the plan is going forward.

“High-speed rail is happening and it’s here to stay,” LaHood said here in announcing the second installment of an $810 million federal grant for the project.

Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker and former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann, who are seeking the GOP nomination for governor, have called the project a boondoggle and waste of taxpayer money.

Both have said they would halt the project if elected, despite the fact that by the time the new governor takes office, the state will have already spent between $60 million to $100 million on contracts, designs, locomotives and rail cars. That does not include money spent by the four cities along the route on train stations.

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