Scott Walker’s Reckless Decisions Cost Wisconsin Taxpayers Again — State Rail Costs Increase Nearly $5 Million

Jun 08, 2014

Scott Walker’s decision to reject $810 million in federal funds for high-speed rail is costing the taxpayers again, as the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the state’s costs for renovations at the Milwaukee Intermodal Station have increased by nearly $5 million.

The needed renovations at the station, which serves Amtrak passenger trains as well as freight trains, would have been entirely covered by federal high-speed rail funds.

Citing costs, Walker famously shut down high-speed rail prior to taking office, forgoing the opportunity for Wisconsin to be an innovator in the field of green technology and exist at the epicenter of a Midwest jobs corridor. The loss sent thousands of family-sustaining jobs and millions of dollars in federal assistance to other states.

But Walker’s cost argument didn’t hold up, as federal aid for high-speed rail would have covered up to 90% of the state’s costs, reducing annual operating costs to $750,000. With today’s news that renovations at the Intermodal station have increased by $5 million, Wisconsin taxpayers have now spent at least $45 million in rejecting high-speed rail — or 60 years worth of annual operating costs.

Just like with his healthcare plan that costs $119 million more to insure 84,700 fewer people, Scott Walker is forcing Wisconsin taxpayers to pay more to get less, and costing good-paying jobs while he’s at it.

“The tab for Scott Walker’s reckless, partisan decisions just got $5 million higher, only its the people of Wisconsin who are stuck footing the bill,” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said Monday. “Whether its rejecting high-speed rail, sending Wisconsin’s tax dollars to expand Medicaid in other states, or continuing to expend state resources in defense of an unconstitutional and discriminatory same-sex marriage ban, Scott Walker is perfectly content to waste the taxpayers’ money — and stifle job creation — so long as it makes him look good to the far-right as he campaigns for president.”