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As I See It

Wisconsin, Minnesota, missing the boat on high speed rail



Imagine being able to get from La Crosse to Chicago in just three hours. It sounds like you will have to keep imagining it, because there is now little chance that high speed rail service will connect the cities. At the start of the decade there was hope of high speed rail from Chicago to the Twin Cities. Much of the money to pay for it was offered to Wisconsin in the form of a federal grant, $810 million worth. But Governor Walker turned down the federal money, and now the project seems to have lost support in Minnesota as well. The heads of the Minnesota Senate and House Transportation Committees have put the brakes on spending any more money studying the feasibility of high speed rail. About $1 million has been spent on the study, but lawmakers objected to accepting another federal grant to pay for the remainder. They cite Wisconsin’s objection to the project, saying it is a waste of tax dollars to study the feasibility of high speed rail if Wisconsin says no to the new form of travel. But Governor Walker isn’t going to be in office forever, and with our crumbling roads and faster speeds, high speed rail remains an attractive option. It seems, when it comes to high speed rail, the midwest is missing the boat.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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