Hundreds turn out for public hearing on high-speed rail - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Hundreds turn out for public hearing on high-speed rail


By Colby Robertson - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MADISON (WKOW) -- A capacity crowd turns out at a public hearing to show they're not giving up on high-speed rail just yet.

More than 500 people packed a meeting Tuesday night on high-speed rail. Most clinging to a sliver of hope that Wisconsin will be part of a Midwest train route.

Mayor Dave Cieslewicz stood up in front of the crowd saying, "It's not over, not nearly over." Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk added, "High-speed rail is the best bang for our buck short term and long term."

It's yet another rally to save the train. Elected officials, community leaders, and hundreds from the general public turned out show they're not giving up on high-speed rail, despite Governor-elect Scott Walker's promise to end it.

Jim Cavanaugh, President of the South Central Federation of Labor says, "Our goal is to convince the Governor to change his mind. That there are so many positive aspects of completing this project and I think he needs to find a way to do that."

A brief rally by organized labor unions kicked off the scheduled meeting organized by the Minnesota and Wisconsin Departments of Transportation. They're planning to run a train from Chicago to the Twin Cities, through Wisconsin.

Bruce Speight, Director WISPIRG, says, "This isn't just about connecting Milwaukee to Madison. This is about connecting Chicago to the Twin Cities and all the cities in Wisconsin in between."

But, supporters fear, if they can't get Governor-elect Scott Walker to jump on board, the high-speed train could move forward and around Wisconsin.

Speight says, "We would miss out on all the economic development, miss out on the jobs that will be created, miss out on having another option for getting around."

It's that possibility that brought out so many people to this meeting. Most for it, a few against it.

"I don't think anyone can prove how many jobs are going to be created by it," says Bob Schaefer, who is against high-speed rail.

Some wanted to hear the direct impact on Madison. Lawrence Annuci says, "People wanted to hear more directly how it will affect Madison and whether the project is going to go forward at all."

And that's something we won't know for sure until the Governor-elect takes office early next month.

This was the last of four DOT meetings held in Wisconsin this year, but it expects to have more in 2011 as the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative moves forward.


By Colby Robertson - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MADISON (WKOW) -- The Department of Transportation is holding a public hearing on high speed rail at the Crowne Plaza on East Washington Avenue.

Despite everything Governor-Elect Scott Walker has said about the high speed rail project being dead, people attending this meeting aren't giving up hope on the idea.

This is the fourth in a series of statewide hearing on high speed rail.

Supporters will have the opportunity to share their thoughts on possible routes and environmental impacts for high-speed passenger rail between Milwaukee and the Twin Cities.

The public meeting runs from 5:00 p.m. until 7 p.m.

Colby Robertson will be at the meeting and bring you the latest tonight on 27 News at 5, 6 and 10.

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