A majority of members of the Milwaukee Common Council have signed a letter to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, expressing their continued support for building a Midwest high-speed rail network that would include an extension of the Chicago-Milwaukee Hiawatha service to Madison.
The letter is below:
Dear Secretary LaHood:
We are writing to express our continued support for President Obama’s vision to develop a Midwest High-Speed Rail Network that would initially involve an extension of the Chicago-Milwaukee Hiawatha service to Madison. We continue to believe that this network will improve mobility and provide more travel choices for our constituents and will serve to create wealth and promote economic development in Milwaukee.
In addition, our city is in desperate need of the employment opportunities that will be generated by the $810 million federal investment in the development of the Milwaukee-to-Madison extension. Moreover, as you know, this federal investment requires no state or local matching funds. This is a benefit to Wisconsin that is not even afforded under federal highway investments, which require state matches of 20 percent or more. In other words, this investment will not require any expenditure from Wisconsin’s Highway Trust Fund, thereby enabling those resources to remain fully available for Wisconsin highway and bridge work.
Our Common Council is on record in support of these rail infrastructure investments. For example, we invested $6.2 million in city funds to renovate and expand the Milwaukee Intermodal Station, and we have invested $6 million in city funds to acquire and renovate an industrial building in Milwaukee for the rail car manufacturer, Talgo, Inc. We overwhelmingly defeated a resolution that would have put the city on record as opposing the renovation of the platform areas of the intermodal station. We have also passed resolutions urging state and federal transportation officials to consider investments in upgraded inter city rail service between Chicago and Milwaukee instead of investing in the expansion of the ISH-94 between Chicago and Milwaukee.
In short, we are on board!
President Willie L. Hines, Jr. Ald. Michael Murphy Ald. Willie C. Wade
Ald. Ashanti Hamilton Ald. Nik Kovac Ald. Joe Davis, Sr.
Ald. Robert J. Bauman Ald. Terry Witkowski Ald. Tony Zielinski
Ald. Milele A. Coggs