Monday, November 20th, 2017

Talgo money lobbying for trains


One of the groups that is attempting to gin up support for the proposed high-speed rail line, including recruiting people to show at Tuesday night’s meeting in Brookfield (video), is the Midwest High Speed Rail Association. Guess who they’re funded by? That’s right, Governor Jim Doyle’s no-bid contract winner, Talgo.

Talgo and other rail interests

Maybe this is what Milwaukee Alderman Robert Bauman was referring to when he said “politically connected” contractors would push high-speed rail through.

Not content with trying to recruit people to shill for rail at public meetings, the group is actively campaigning against Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker. Here’s a letter sent by Rick Harnish of the Midwest High Speed Rail Association:

Scott Walker, the opposition candidate for Governor in Wisconsin, has launched a major attack against passenger trains in Wisconsin.  Please ask your friends in Wisconsin to show their support for passenger rail expansion.

Wisconsin was awarded Recovery Act funds to extend the successful Amtrak Hiawatha from Milwaukee to Madison.  Walker has promised to stop construction if he is elected.

This week, he held an anti-train rally in Milwaukee and began running TV ads promising to “stop this train”.  He even set up a special website:

We have set up an action page  where Wisconsin residents can show their support.  Please forward this email to your friends in Wisconsin and ask them to support passenger trains.

The action page is located at:

Rick Harnish
Executive Director
Midwest High Speed Rail Association
4765 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60625

Meanwhile, Brookfield Mayor Steve Ponto (video) again stated he would be opposed to any Brookfield tax money going to the proposed station. Since there is only $5 million in federal money for a station in Brookfield, and since the station will cost three to four times as much, it does not sound like Brookfield is going to support building a train station in their community. Especially when you consider they will also be on the hook for the operating costs as well.

Judging from the early reports on attendance at Brookfield’s meeting, it sounds like the Talgo-funded group was not successful (video) in recruiting too many train enthusiasts to the meeting. As one Brookfield resident put it, the bottom line is the bottom line, and Brookfield can’t afford it.

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