The War on Trains

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Nov. 9 2010 10:41 AM

The War on Trains

A sign of the times from the AP :

Jim Doyle, Wisconsin’s outgoing Democratic governor, told The Associated Press that although he thinks a high-speed rail line to connect Milwaukee with Madison is a good idea, he feels obligated to leave the project’s future up to Republican Gov.-elect Scott Walker.

Minutes after Doyle made his comments, Walker said he remains opposed to the $810 million project.

"My position remains the same," Walker said. "I don’t see anything that would change my mind."

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood sent a letter to Walker dated Monday that said unless the governor-elect changed his position, "we plan to engage in an orderly transition to wind down Wisconsin’s project so that we do not waste taxpayers’ money."

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For Democrats, the truly disturbing thing about Chris Christie's popularity in New Jersey must be that he benefits from showily -- and sloppily -- killing off infrastructure projects that would unquestionably create construction jobs. Southeastern Wisconsin has been hit hard, as has the inland empire of California and southern Nevada, but the politics are for cutting train projects in both areas.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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