Wisconsin Republican leaders unified in opposition to train

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Republican chief of the Wisconsin Senate stated Thursday that he opposes spending any state cash to assist Madison deliver a passenger rail line that will join the capital metropolis to Milwaukee, becoming a member of the state’s different high GOP legislative chief in opposition to the undertaking.

Senate Majority Chief Devin LeMahieu instructed The Related Press that he opposes state funding for the undertaking however had not been briefed by Madison metropolis leaders on what they had been trying. Meeting Speaker Robin Vos was blunt final week when requested about it, saying solely “No state funding.”

“I don’t assume it is sensible to construct a rail, even when it’s principally via federal cash, if we’re caught on the hook subsidizing it for the following 30 years,” LeMahieu stated, agreeing with Vos.

Republicans management the Legislature and if they don’t comply with state funding for the rail line, it may doom the nascent undertaking, which is envisioned as an enlargement between Chicago and St. Paul, Minnesota. Former Gov. Scott Walker, additionally a Republican, opposed the same rail line when he ran for governor in 2010 after which killed the undertaking, which might have been funded with $810 million from the federal authorities.

Walker made comparable arguments then, saying the state can be left footing prices for a rail line that few individuals would use.

“I don’t assume the numbers actually labored then and I do know there are lots of people that commute between the 2 cities, however it looks like anytime there’s an enormous undertaking like that … there’s all the time value overruns after which the state’s caught subsidizing it for perpetually,” LeMahieu stated.

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Madison officers have been speaking about constructing a rail line connecting the capital with Milwaukee, about 80 miles (129 kilometers) to the east. Madison hopes to faucet a part of greater than $100 billion in federal funding for rail strains that was included in a bipartisan infrastructure invoice that Congress handed in 2021 and President Joe Biden signed.

Metropolis officers instructed the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel final week that early phases of the undertaking wouldn’t require state funding. However Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway additionally instructed the newspaper that she hoped the undertaking can be performed in collaboration with the state as a part of an even bigger imaginative and prescient for passenger rail in Wisconsin.

Rhodes-Conway did not instantly reply to a Thursday message in search of remark.

Madison officers have held conferences to assemble enter from residents about the place they want practice stations to be situated.