IS THIS REALLY WHAT WISCONSIN HAD IN MIND?…. As part of the economic stimulus, the federal government was prepared to spend nearly $1 billion on a high-speed-rail corridor linking Madison and Milwaukee in Wisconsin. When Gov.-elect Scott Walker (R) vowed to reject the money — and the jobs and economic development along with — a train manufacturer in the state started talking about picking up and moving elsewhere.
That was a month ago. This week, Wisconsin, at the behest of its new Republican chief executive, gave back the federal money, which will now go to projects in other states. Right on cue, the train manufacturer is leaving Wisconsin, too, and taking jobs with it. (via Atrios)
Talgo Inc. will shut down its Milwaukee train manufacturing operations in 2012, leaving only a maintenance base, because plans for a high-speed rail line between Milwaukee and Madison have been abandoned, the company announced Friday. […]
“In our view, this is even more tragic for the state of Wisconsin than it is for Talgo,” [Nora Friend, a Talgo vice president] said in a written statement. “This is the rejection of creation of direct and indirect jobs, of added tourism, of the increase in state income taxes with permanent employment and … lost opportunities (from) the establishment and growth of the vendor supply chain, among many other benefits.” […]
Friend’s statement didn’t say where Talgo would move, although she said it was likely to be a state that was expanding its rail lines.
I should note that Walker, the incoming Republican governor, rejected the funds, the jobs, and the development because, as he sees it, Wisconsin would have to spend money to maintain the rail system after the feds built it. Of course, by that logic, someone with a broken-down car should turn down a free Lexus because he/she doesn’t want to pay for gasoline.
Also note, Milwaukee had already invested millions of dollars in renovating an old factory to accommodate Talgo’s train manufacturing, looking to establish a long-term base for the company and Wisconsin workers. But that was before state voters elected a Republican governor, and now those investments appear to have been wasted.
How any of this is expected to actually help Wisconsin’s economy is a total mystery to me.