November 2010, Week 2


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Wed, 10 Nov 2010 21:45:24 -0500
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Save High Speed Rail in Wisconsin

1. Save Wisconsin Jobs, Save Talgo, 11/15 (Milwaukee)
2. Canceling High-Speed Rail is Economic Treason


Save Wisconsin Jobs, Save Talgo

Join Citizen Action of Wisconsin's Good Jobs and
Livable Neighborhoods Coalition, the Wisconsin AFL-CIO,
and Voces de la Frontera for a press conference with
community leaders urging Scott Walker to change his
plans to kill high speed rail costing Wiscosin up to
15,000 family supporting jobs and up to $100 million in
desperately needed state revenue.

Monday, Nov. 15, 2010 
12 Noon 
Talgo Site, 30th and Townsend, Milwaukee (park on 30th St.)

If you or your organization would like to be listed as
a supporter of this event and to find out how you can
help our effort to save Wisconsin jobs please contact
[log in to unmask] or call (414) 899-3386


Canceling High-Speed Rail is Economic Treason

By Robert Kraig 
Milwaukee Biz Blog 
November 09, 2010

Governor-elect Scott Walker’s ill-advised campaign
posture to cancel the high-speed rail project that is
already under construction would cost Wisconsin up to
15,000 family supporting jobs and up to $100 million at
a time when both jobs and revenue are desperately

Walker got a lot of campaign mileage out of this issue
as a supposed example of wasteful government spending,
but now that he actually will have to govern,
cancelling the project at this stage makes absolutely
no sense, even if you believe his arguments against the

Walker’s campaign posturing now threatens thousands of
construction and permanent jobs, and will cost
Wisconsin much more money to cancel than continue.
Given the desperate need for jobs in Wisconsin, and the
severe fiscal crisis the state faces, cancelling the
high speed rail line amounts to economic treason.

Not surprisingly, other governors are already beginning
to line up to request the job-creating money for their
own states. Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo in New York has
already put out a statement asking for the money to
create good high-speed rail jobs for New Yorkers.

First, let’s review the jobs that will not be created
if Walker cancels the high-speed rail project. If it is
cancelled, it will cost Wisconsin an estimated 4,732
construction jobs. In addition, research on the
economic impact of high-speed rail concludes that when
the full project is completed, including the link from
Madison to Minneapolis, that 9,570 permanent jobs will
be created.

Governor-elect Walker has defended cancellation of the
high-speed rail project on fiscal grounds, but
returning the $810 million in federal funding that is
paying for construction of the project would actually
cost the state a great deal of money. As the money can
only be used for high-speed rail, and the project is
already underway, Wisconsin would have to pay back the
federal government and contractors for work already

Policymakers estimate it will cost Wisconsin between
$57 million and $100 million to buy out of the project.
The maintenance costs Walker railed against in the
campaign are substantially lower than this!  Walker
projected $7.5 million per year during the campaign,
but most analysts think it will be much less. If the
federal government pays the same percentage of
maintenance costs it now pays for the Hiawatha line
between Milwaukee and Chicago, the cost to Wisconsin
will only by $750,000 per year, which is a tiny
fraction of the state transportation budget.

In addition, the City of Milwaukee spent $10 million to
buy the blighted Milwaukee site where the high speed
trains are being built by Spanish manufacturer Talgo,
and has invested an additional $6 million to upgrade
the facility. Talgo has made it clear that they are
unlikely to stay in Milwaukee if the Wisconsin high
speed train project is cancelled.  As a result,
Milwaukee would lose the anchor manufacturing facility
needed to spur re-development of the blighted Tower
Automotive/A.O. Smith site on the near north side.

Given the nearly 15,000 construction and permanent jobs
that would be created by the federal investment in
Wisconsin in high-speed rail, and the high fiscal cost
of cancellation, it would be incredibly short-sighted
for Governor elect-Walker to follow through on his
campaign posture just to provide more red meat for
right-wing talk radio audiences. It amounts to economic
treason at a time when everyone, regardless of
political and ideological perspective, should be
working together to bring desperately needed family
supporting jobs back to Wisconsin.

Robert Kraig is executive director of Citizen Action of


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