Monday, March 4, 2013

The Promise of High Speed Rail Jobs Killed by Walker.

I’m sorry for having to post most of this story by Cap Timesreporter Steve Elbow. 

But every word makes my head hurt and heart ache, knowing how Scott Walker’s campaign decision to win votes by killing high speed rail, killed off all the jobs that would have been created in the growing commuter rail market.

Conservative towns along the way would have grown and prospered with train stops from quick out-of-town visits. We’re going to miss it all, even the dream connection between Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison and Minneapolis. Now, Madison’s commuter liberal base is getting bypassed. Smart planning Scott. 

Read the following and weep, knowing lowbrow dummies like Vicki McKenna won one for all the teabilly lunkheads. This really is a sad story:
Even though Wisconsin has bowed out of participating in the Midwest high-speed rail network, a lot of state businesses stand to profit from the initiative. In a report last month, the Chicago-based Environmental Law and Policy Center, a group that boosts eco-business innovation, lists hundreds of high-speed rail service and supply companies that could become part of the supply chain for the rail initiative, 73 of them in Wisconsin. Locally they include HNTB of Madison, an engineering and architecture firm; Mohawk Industries, a carpet manufacturer; and Stoughton Trucking.

One of the biggest companies expected to cash in is Milwaukee Composites, a Cudahy floor and ceiling panel manufacturer that counts several international train makers among its customers, as well as public transit services in Chicago and New York.

Scott Walker opted out of the Midwest high-speed rail network, turning away $810 million in stimulus funds for a high-speed train from Milwaukee to Madison that was eventually slated to extend to the Twin Cities.
The future of travel and business expansion in the state depends on ending Walker’s ideological sink hole like reign:
But despite Walker’s decision, improvements are still being made to the existing Empire Builder line, which provides Amtrak service from the Twin Cities to Milwaukee. “Political winds do change, and if they do we’ll have all the engineering ready to go, says Dan Krom, Minnesota’s passenger rail project manager.
So in the long run, the main result of Walker’s decision to put the brakes on high-speed passenger rail will be to bypass Madison, which is not on the Empire Builder route.

The Environmental Law and Policy Center study found that companies across the Midwest are retooling to take advantage of a boom in Amtrak ridership, which has set records in nine of the last 10 years.

“Our study found dozens of companies that now supply rail manufacturers after years of supplying the automotive industry and other sectors,” the report says. “This rail growth offers opportunities to suppliers of automotive glass, seats and other components, particularly given the ‘Buy America’ mandate for rail.”

Add to that the $782 million in federal dollars being doled out to six states, including Illinois, Iowa and Michigan, for locomotives and passenger rail cars, further boosting the manufacturing base, which promotes good jobs with good benefits.

“Manufacturing has a higher multiplier effect as the goods flow through the economy,” the report says. “For example, according to a 2010 study from the Tripp Umbach research firm, GE Transportation has a larger impact on the Pennsylvania economy ($4.6 billion) than all of the state’s professional sports teams ($1.37 billion) and mining, oil and gas extraction industries ($1.79 billion) combined.”

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