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As I See It

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If you build it, they will come. No, this isn’t Iowa, but Wisconsin, where a second passenger train that recently started rolling is drawing lots of interest. Back in May, Amtrak’s new train, The Borrealis, began service between St. Paul and Chicago. That is in addition to the Empire Builder, which travels the same Wisconsin tracks as it goes from Seattle to Chicago. This second train offers passengers more convenience, with two scheduled trips to choose from daily. Now we have learned that in its first month of service, the Borrealis carried 18,000 passengers. That shows the interest level in using trains as a form of public transportation, something former Governor Scott Walker should have considered when he turned down federal money for high-speed rail in Wisconsin. The new train is even more convenient for those boarding in La Crosse. Because it originates in the Twin Cities it is rarely late, unlike the Empire Builder which can be several hours late on the way from the west coast. It is also an inexpensive trip, with fares from St. Paul to Chicago available for as little as $41. This is only the second passenger rail expansion in Wisconsin in 22 years, and its success shows travelers were more than ready to hop on board.

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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  1. Richard Lepsch

    July 11, 2024 at 5:34 am

    I’m a rail fan but did the 18000 cover the cost for the prriod, or are the tax payers on the hook like they would have been with high speed rail, But we should look at the success of NewScums high speed rail …oh wait thats not working and billions spent..

    • The Dude

      July 11, 2024 at 10:57 am

      @Richard Lepsch, bravo. Just because there was 18,000 that Mr. Shaw states as “clearly there is interest” you have hit the nail on the head. What is the cost and impact to the taxpayers. Just because there is federal dollars initial to help funding of the project (5%) what are the burdens that the taxpayers are on the hook for.

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