The chair of the Minnesota High-Speed Rail Commission added another note of disappointment to the news this week that Wisconsin is losing most of its high-speed rail federal money because the incoming governor doesn’t believe in the project. Wisconsin’s money will go to other states that are moving ahead on fast trains. but Minnesota is not on the list.
Earlier, Minnesota’s Gov.-elect Mark Dayton reacted to the news, lamenting the loss and worried about its impact on Minnesota’s plan to be part of a high-speed rail route from Chicago to the Twin Cities.
Today, Jerry Miller, chair of the Minnesota High-Speed Rail Commission called Wisconsin’s loss of funding “a setback” but said the commission will continue to work to get the rail line established. His statement:
“The commission is disappointed in Governor-elect Walker’s decision to give the $810 million that had been awarded to Wisconsin to build a high-speed rail line from Milwaukee to Madison to other states and jeopardize our multi-state initiative. Unfortunately, this funding would have funded the first phase of the Twin Cities to Chicago high speed rail corridor and its loss is an economic setback for the Upper Midwest.
“Connecting our region by high-speed rail will create 15,000 new jobs and economic opportunities for years to come. By shifting this funding to places like Washington, California and Florida, we are also exporting future private sector job growth to our neighbors and making the region less competitive.
“While this decision is a significant setback, we will continue to work with Governors-elect Dayton, Walker, and the U.S. DOT to ensure Minnesota is connected to Chicago through Wisconsin.”