Roundup of rail reactions

An admittedly incomplete attempt to catalog the politicians' recent passenger-rail-paper-pushing around Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, New York and D.C.

Nov 4: Wisconsin Gov-Elect Scott Walker issues a statement announcing his team is "exploring all legal options" to stop the Milwaukee-Madison rail project and redirect the money to fix roads and bridges.

Nov 4: Wisconsin DOT Secretary announces that, at Gov. Jim Doyle's request, he'll "temporarily interrupt" work on the rail project.

Nov 5: US Congresswoman Gwen Moore of Milwaukee issues a statement saying it's critical that work on the rail project continue.

Nov 5: NY Gov-Elect Andrew Cuomo sends a letter urging US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to redirect to New York any unwanted rail funds from states like Wisconsin and Ohio because "high speed rail could be the 21st Century Erie Canal for New York State" and "now is the moment to build."

Nov 8: Wisconsin's outgoing Governor Jim Doyle issues a statement saying the idea that rail funds could be spent to fix roads is "pure fiction."

Nov 8: Secretary LaHood responds to letter (PDF) to WI Gov-Elect Scott Walker saying rail money can not be used to fix roads and bridges.

Nov 8: Ohio Gov-Elect John Kasich sends a letter (PDF) to outgoing Gov. Strickland demanding he "immediately cancel all contracts relating to your rail program."

Nov 8: Kasich sends a letter (PDF) to President Obama saying he will terminate Ohio's Cincinnat--Columbus-Cleveland passenger rail project. Freight rail and highways, he says, take priority.

(Note the so-called 3C line is backed by more than 80 letters and resolutions of support from a broad range of groups including the AFL-CIO and the Sierra Club.)

Nov 9: Wi Gov-Elect Scott Walker reportedly sends letter to President Obama saying road and bridge spending is Wisconsin's priority.

Nov 9: A spokesman for OH Governor Strickland reportedly tells Kasich to go fly a kite via an e-mailed statement to a Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter.

Nov 9: Secretary LaHood responds (PDF) to Ohio's Kasich by in part informing the Gov-elect that stimulus funds paid for 492 road, bridge, transit and airport projects in the state.

Nov 10: The Watertown Chamber of Commerce sends a letter (PDF) to Gov Elect Scott Walker saying that cancellation of the Madison-Milwaukee project would be "an extremely poor decision" that would "stymie economic development."

Nov. 10: Illinois Governor Pat Quinn reportedly releases a letter in which he recruits the Spanish train manufacturer Talgo from Wisconsin to Illinois.

UPDATE Nov 11: Milwaukee Common Council sends a letter (PDF) to Secretary LaHood saying Milwaukee-Madison rail service will "improve mobility, provide more travel choices, create wealth and promote economic development.”

UPDATE Nov 16: Three U.S. Congressmen - all from Wisconsin - issue a statement that shouts "local control" and introduces legislation that would allow states to return rail money and help pay the federal debt.

UPDATE Nov 18: The Minnesota AFL-CIO sends a letter (PDF) to Gov-Elect Walker saying the midwest's global competitiveness depends on upgrading to a 21st century transportation system.