Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Editorial , March 30, 2011
Gov. Scott Walker’s announcement Tuesday that the state will seek at least $150 million to add equipment and facilities for Amtrak’s Hiawatha line is welcome news for Wisconsin and the state’s economy. Strengthening the state’s ties to Chicago can only serve to foster jobs and economic growth throughout the region.
The upgrades – urged by Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, the Milwaukee business community and the Journal Sentinel, among others – could result in more daily round trips between Milwaukee and Chicago. That’s great, but if future upgrades can provide faster service, that’s even better.
Walker said he plans to join other Midwestern states in a joint application that would allow Wisconsin to buy two more train sets and eight locomotives, build a maintenance facility and renovate the train shed at the downtown Milwaukee Amtrak-Greyhound station. The feds should grant the money.
Walker is often seen as an opponent of rail, but in cases where he sees that it makes sense, he’s on board with everyone else. Now if only he’d expand his vision to include more of the state.