From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
By David M. Smith, IBM Senior Executive – Wisconsin
September 8, 2010
On Labor Day, President Barack Obama stood in front of thousands of union workers at Maier Festival Park and announced a $50 billion plan to help jump-start our economy. His plan centers on our nation’s surface transportation, and one of the major tenets of the plan is bettering our rail system to help reduce our reliance on oil and connect us to other cities throughout the Midwest.
This couldn’t come at a better time for our push to connect the major regional cities as well as stimulate employment. Almost a year ago, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation submitted an application to the Federal Railroad Administration under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to build the Milwaukee-to-Madison portion of the Midwest Regional Rail Corridor. To date, the project has received $810 million to make this connection a reality.
Benefits of high-speed passenger rail are clear. It’s a way of reducing travel times and traffic congestion on our highways. It will create opportunities for community development and public/private investments in areas near train stations. Additionally, the implementation of the corridor service plan could potentially serve most of Wisconsin’s populous and fastest-growing regions.
About 76% of Wisconsin’s total population lives within 30 miles of proposed Midwest Regional Rail Corridor stations. Connecting the largest commerce areas in the Midwest will ultimately allow for long-term economic growth and enable people to work in a greater variety of locations without having to move.
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