The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel today says that passenger rail projects like the proposed Milwaukee-Madison line "could be an important economic development tool" but "residents are unlikely to support a system they perceive is being shoved down their throats."
The alleged "quiet deal" that provoked the editorial is likely more easily explained by stupidity and cowardice, not conspiracy or corruption, in the Democratic Party.
Wisconsin is broke and unemployed. One smart play - economically and politically - if you can sell it - is to publicly own, celebrate and lead $810 million to hire workers, place orders with suppliers and build modern infrastructure that connects two vital cities and better positions the state to compete in the 21st century.
The Democrats instead apparently opted to hide. They reportedly sealed the deal on a weekend and apparently didn't even issue a news release. Why not? Money and jobs is good news.
Republicans shrewdly seized on the their opponent's fear, using it to fill the rail deal full of spikes and win the governor seat. Informed observers now say "it's R.I.P. for high-speed rail in Wisconsin."
Update: Wisconsin DOT "temporarily interrupts" project work to "assess real world consequences" of completely killing rail line. Who's the most credible, independent auditor in the state?