Watertown Businesses want high speed rail

Published by the Biztimes.com Milwaukee Biz Blog

Governor-Elect Scott Walker
17 W. Main St., #310
Madison, Wl53703

On behalf of the Watertown Chamber of Commerce and its Board of Directors, I am contacting you to emphasize our support for a high-speed rail stop here in Watertown. In a recent survey of our Chamber membership, 85% of the respondents indicated they would favor the construction of a rail depot here in town. These respondents are the business and community leaders of Watertown – including small-business owners that serve as the engine of Wisconsin’s economy.

While we are cognizant of the need to control spending and bring the state’s finances back in order, we feel that scrapping the high-speed rail project would be an extremely poor decision and stymie economic development in Watertown and the surrounding area. As you are surely aware, recruiting and retaining business has become an extremely competitive venture in today’s economy. Communities like Watertown need to distinguish themselves in order to attract the jobs and associated community benefits these businesses bring to the table.

A vital component of any economic development strategy is having modem, accessible, and comprehensive infrastructure readily available. The high-speed rail line would not only provide a convenient and cost-effective means for businesses to move their employees, it would also increase efficiencies in moving goods via freight. The latter is an especially exciting prospect for us since Watertown’s newest business park has direct access to this rail line (and plenty of land available).

In closing, we feel the benefits of the proposed high-speed rail line far outweigh the anticipated costs (if you consider a net gain when taking added tax revenues into account as a “cost”). We cannot stress enough the importance of this project to Watertown’s future economic viability. Now that election season is over, we have confidence that you will take a fair and balanced look at the rail project, fulfill your duty, and place the needs of your constituency over partisan politics.

Kim Erdmann, executive director, and Anthony Maas, president of the board of directors of the Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce.


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