I am drawing a line in the sand Mr. President: No matter how much money you and Governor Doyle try to spend before the end of the year, I will put a stop to this boondoggle the day I take office.
It’s outrageous for Secretary La Hood to suggest that your administration can force Wisconsin to continue building a train it doesn’t want and cannot afford. Almost as outrageous as the fact that the decision to saddle Wisconsin taxpayers with untold millions in operating and maintenance costs, forever, was never debated or voted on by the Wisconsin legislature. If it had been, this letter would not be necessary.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, my opponent in the race to replace Governor Doyle, has made the Milwaukee to Madison train the centerpiece of his economic development plan for Wisconsin. The Mayor tells us that spending $810 million on high-speed rail will create thousands of new Wisconsin jobs, but according to the federal government’s own estimate, the total number of permanent jobs created will be 55. That’s $14.5 million per job, not including any hidden costs!
Yeesh, that’s worse than the average of $300K per job I’ve seen elsewhere. This is the 2nd locality I’ve seen where a large, expensive public-works transportation program has been enacted with little support from the citizens living in the area. (The other one is Cincinnati.) After Seattle’s experience with a transport project of such scale and expense, I would have thought there would be a bit more caution about projects like this. That’s especially true in this economy and with existing transportation infrastructure in such need of the funding.
(Hat Tip: Hot Air.)