Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Walker Budget Is Already Working! Part C

It's rather appropriate that this, the 100th citation of the "success" Scott Walker's budget and ideology has rained down upon our state, makes it full circle to where he started.

Even before he was sworn into office, Walker was showing the state what kind of job creator he was by killing any chance of high speed rail coming through the state and keeping Wisconsin from becoming an economic hub.  His complaint was that it was too expensive, even though the cost would have been only $2.10 per person, almost the cost of a half gallon of gasoline.

Without the federal funds that would have come with the high speed rail, it turned out that the cost of necessary repairs and modifications were exponentially higher.  So Walker killed that as well.

And now we see how much Walker's ideological idiocy is going to cost us:

As many as 35 jobs would be lost at Talgo's Milwaukee facility June 3 because of a decision by the state to decline federal funding for passenger rail that would have prompted Talgo to build more trains for Wisconsin. Barrett said a decision by Republican lawmakers last month could put another 30 maintenance jobs at risk. 
In a letter dated Monday, the Spanish train maker notified unions that it would start laying off employees involved in building two trains for Wisconsin. That layoff does not affect employees who would be involved in maintaining the trains, but the maintenance jobs are also in jeopardy because of a decision by state lawmakers last month to cut off funding for a study on building a maintenance facility for the new trains. The company sent a similar letter to state officials Tuesday. 
Despite Walker's decision to decline a $810 million federal grant to extend passenger rail service from Milwaukee to Madison, the governor's administration supported borrowing $2.5 million for planning a new maintenance base for two trains Talgo workers were building in Milwaukee. The new trains would have replaced 20-to 30-year-old Amtrak equipment that's used on the Hiawatha line from Milwaukee to Chicago. 
A legislative committee led by Republicans voted to cut off that funding last month after the state Department of Transportation estimated that using the Amtrak equipment would be $10 million a year cheaper than using new state-owned trains. Talgo says the state would save $12 million a year by using its equipment, including $260,587 in fuel costs.\ 
Walker signed off on a legislative committee's decision, with his administration saying the governor could not have overturned the panel's vote. 
The vote could force the state to mothball two brand-new trains on which it has already spent $71.8 million. Talgo has argued that the state could maintain the trains by using Talgo's facility on Milwaukee's north side as a temporary maintenance facility. State Transportation Secretary Mark Gottlieb said in March his department is pondering options but cannot put the trains into service on Amtrak's Milwaukee-to-Chicago Hiawatha line without plans for a permanent maintenance base. 
Barrett told Talgo workers Wednesday that Walker's administration had "stacked" the numbers by inflating the cost because of an ideological opposition to public transportation.
And those are just the existing jobs that Walker directly killed.  There is no way to count how many people won't find the jobs they desperately need because Walker killed off the thousands of support jobs that would have been created from high speed rail.

With job creators like Walker, who needs job killers


  1. I disagree with Walker on everything, but these types of shenanigans really get my goat. The federal dollars are OUR dollars that we paid in taxes. By refusing them he is allowing other states to take and use OUR money. WI already has a negative take on federal tax dollars returned to the state. The only reason to refuse tax dollars is for personal political reasons of which he is extremely stupid. Just when he could use a little job bump before the recall. Can you say, 'cut off your nose to spite your face'? RECALL.

  2. So our governor has an ideological opposition to public transportation and that's why he turned down 800,000 million dollars?

    He is ideologically opposed to something that takes thousands of people to work or shopping everyday?

    Not only that, but, he was willing to give our federal tax money to Illinois, Michigan, California?

  3. It wasnt our tax dollars, it would have been your kids,or maybe even grandkids tax dollars. You guys need to start citing some examples of how well that "high" speed rail is working out in other states, then, you can blame Walker for not accepting it.
    And Wasn't Talgo that no bid contract borrowing millions that Doyle signed in order to try to make it economically unfeasable for Walker to deny the federal money? My memory isnt that short.

    1. So now we're squandering the jobs and the freedoms of ourselves, our children and grandchildren. Brilliance!

  4. Wisconsin needs to understand that dense cities are good cities. And hi-tech industries need high speed transit by air or by rail. Now we have cows and corn and highly subsidized roads that are inefficient people movers.

    An urban plan for southern Wisconsin that integrates high speed rail would go a long way to getting us out of the 'America's Dairyland' mantra that depends on tourism, cows and rusty manufacturing.