UPDATED: 11/16/10 and 11/19/10 to include new reports from Journal-Sentinel about Walker’s campaign contributions and to reorder the timeline (now in chronological order) and news about North Carolina.
The Governors-elect of Wisconsin (Scott Walker) and Ohio (John Kasich) made it clear during their campaigns that they would put an end to current or upcoming high-speed rail construction paid for mostly by competitive grants from the Department of Transportation.
Illinois was the first state to start high-speed rail construction using federal stimulus money. Photo taken just outside of Springfield, right before IDOT announced the first phase of track construction (from Alton to Springfield) is complete and phase two should have begun yesterday, Monday (from Springfield to Lincoln).
Because of their stance, and because Secretary Ray LaHood has made it clear that Wisconsin’s $810 million and Ohio’s $400 can only be used for high-speed rail, the news changes daily. Here’s the latest in the chronology that’s happened in the past two weeks:
- Transit and rail advocates discuss role (11/04/10)Â probable Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair John Mica.
- Cleveland resident Angie Schmitt writes to John Kasich (Ohio) asking that he refrain from killing the 3C* project (11/05/10).
- Illinois Department of Transportation tells Wisconsin, “We’ll take it,” (11/09/10) referring to the $810 million now in flux.
- Talgo, a Spanish train manufacturer, set up shop in Milwaukee earlier this year to build trains for Wisconsin. With the current saga, they’ve suggested they may move the plant (11/11/10) to a more supportive state (Governor Quinn is calling for them to come to Illinois).
- People rally in Milwaukee on Monday (11/15/10) to persuade Walker to change his mind.
- Walker (Wisconsin)Â might have a change of heart (11/15/10), but not for the original Madison to Milwaukee route.
- The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel is reporting on the highway and road builders’ contributions to Walker’s campaign (11/16/10). Via Chicagoist – and I wouldn’t call that Chicago-style politics, just lobbying.
- May North Carolina have some piece of the pie, please? (11/17/10)
- California, the state with the best plan to install high-speed rail with speeds comparable to trains in Europe and Asia also seeking the same pot of cash. (11/17/10)
LaHood is laying on the pressure that high-speed rail will happen, but perhaps not in Wisconsin, if Walker has his way.
*3C stands for Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Columbus.
Two Amtrak trains waiting to depart Chicago Union Station (CUS) in May 2010. Photo by Eric Pancer.