The Governor and the Train Set

Wisconsin Politics at Its finest

While searching for something of interest to do, I turned on the Mark Belling AM Talk Radio Show coming from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I’ve taken the story and ideas Mark discussed, simplified them and added here and there. For all you foreigners who live outside of southeastern Wisconsin, the local problem may not interest you, but the politics should. This is how too many politicians, particularly Democrats, operate these days.

With all the job losses, including mine, here in Wisconsin, you’d think the Governor would be hot on the trail of luring new businesses to the state. But nothing could be more opposite. The Governor and his solid Democrat majorities in both Houses feel that taxing the rich, and particularity businesses, is the hot thing – which strategy has cause numerous large business to either curtail operations, move to more business-friendly states/countries, or shut down completely.

However, our good Gov. Doyle has seen the light and worked diligently this year to bring in a large company and four new jobs with it. Then he moved on to high-speed rail – and that is the subject of this story.

Everyone pictures high-speed rail as sleek bullet-shaped trains speeding at hundreds of miles an hour across vast distances – say in Japan or France. While Wisconsin is no where as large as either of those two countries, it is mostly farm and forest lands, with countless small towns, villages, and the occasional large city. Connecting them with high-speed rail might seem a great idea supplying many jobs. But your idea of high-speed rail is not the Governor’s idea of high-speed rail. His high-speed rail will move just about as fast as early 20th Century trains, that is around 100 mph in open stretches. And there’s the rub. The only place they claim that will work is from Milwaukee to Madison. Madison just happens to be the state capital.

This is obviously pure coincidence. As is the ending of the line in Madison’s obscure local airport, five or so miles from the capital building. Another coincidence seems to be that the airport is where numerous local politicians keep their airplanes.

Something is going on here, but I don’t know what. All that aside, our new high-speed rail will bring in 80 new jobs according to the Governor. That these jobs are temporary in nature is beside the point. Wisconsin is getting 84 brand spanking new jobs to make up for the thousands lost, and assuredly all those rail related jobs will be union only. But never mind.

As we locals all know, while jobs were being lost in Shebogan, Gov. Doyle was off buying a train set from a Spanish firm for $500 million – before the high-speed (100 mph) rail plan is approved and before anyone knows if the rails from Milwaukee to Madison can be upgraded. The rail system will stretch all the way to its end at the local Madison airport.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, there is a company in Milwaukee which builds train sets for a Japanese outfit who sells them to national bidders. Since the Japanese company was not allowed to make a pitch or a bid, they are very pissed and are ending their contract with the Milwaukee company. Thus ends a bunch of good paying jobs in Milwaukee. But never mind, the mayor of Milwaukee wants the Spanish trains built in Milwaukee, but Doyle wants them built in Janesville. Guess who wins? Guess who looses?

The silver lining (pure speculation) is that a very large warehouse will have to be built to house the train set, if the plan is not approved or the existing rails are not upgradeable. Then, workers will have to be hired to maintain the warehouse, managers to manage the workers, and a new Madison bureau to oversee the managers. Plus, there is always the tour industry which can set up tours of the train set parked in the warehouse, which means ticket sellers will have to be hired. Jobs for everyone – as long as they belong to a union. All this for $800 million and a tax hike to pay for it.

Clever Doyle, saves jobs in Wisconsin!

But since no newspaper or TV station in Wisconsin will report this story – all being staunch Doyle supporters, no on will ever know, which means it never happened.

Update

Jim Doyle bought 2 trains when he was in Spain on a sealed no-bid contract. When Hussein announced his Train Initiative, Doyle bought two more trains. Each train will have 14 cars – 28 cars in all. Each car is expected to cary 6 passengers per trip – at most. The real cost per passenger per trip is around $5000.00. Naturally, the ticket price will be heavily subsidized to bring the price down to something affordable – like $5.00. The difference will be picked up by taxpayers.

In a slick move, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Doyle got the Spanish train builder to open a plant in Milwaukee – no so far away from the other Milwaukee train builder. This move is in response to the mass flight of manufacturing jobs out of Wisconsin. See! They are really trying to bring jobs back to Wisconsin that their regulatory and tax policies have driven out.

On of the interesting facts proponents of building trains is that there are many homes and businesses built along the rail line – however, like everywhere else these homes and businesses will also be subsidized by taxpayers – further aggravating the Wisconsin tax situation.

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