Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The train of the future will be running elsewhere

The reverberations from the feds leaving Wisconsin out of $2 billion in high-speed rail money were on the front page of the paper this morning. Really, why would the feds invest money here when Gov Walker and the Fitzgerald brothers have made clear their disdain for rail as opposed to more roads, more cars, more congestion, more paved-over habitats?

Scott wanted it on his terms. Too bad, gov. This is what poor leadership and a dose of arrogance will do for you.

You want to look good by improving the Hiawatha, you know, the one all those business guys take every day to Chicago? Show a little commitment to rail itself as an alternative, cleaner, more efficient way to move people around in a world desperate for alternatives to cars - and even to airplanes. Because a high quality high-speed railroad connecting major cities around the country would be a step towards that future.

This for me was the most revealing statement in this article:
"The announcements we're making today are with the strongest partners in America," [US Transportation Secretary Ray] LaHood told reporters. "These are reliable people. These are people (who) have as one of their highest priorities the development of high-speed rail."
Walker is not a reliable partner, that's clear. And as the good-paying Talgo jobs move out of this state to Illinois, so will the promise of economic revitalization that high-speed rail from Chicago to Madison to Minneapolis would have brought along with it.

Hey gov! I thought you were going to attract all those Illinois businesses and jobs to Wisconsin, not the other way around!!

This is backward thinking in the extreme, and we will find our state being left behind by the old thinking of Walker's corporate backers.  It's sad, really. Lots of folks are on this ride with him, and lots of those folks are going to be among those left behind by not embracing the future, a future which, whether Walker, the road builders, Koch Industries, and the Fitzgerald brothers like it or not, will be weaning itself from cars and congestion and moving towards what is necessary for resilient sustainable communities in the near and long term.

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