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Wisconsin GOP candidate would return $810 million in high-speed rail money if elected

(The following appeared on the Hudson Star-Observer website on August 17, 2010.)

HUDSON, Wisc. — President Obama says his administration is improving the nation’s infrastructure by putting in a new high-speed rail line from Milwaukee-to-Madison.

But while Obama was hailing the project in a Milwaukee speech, Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker vowed again to shut it down if he’s elected.

Walker told a rally that he’d rather return the $810 million federal stimulus dollars approved for building the train, than spend $10 million a year in state funds to operate the line. Obama’s transportation secretary recently said the project was too far along to be stopped.

Over $50 million will have been spent on the project before the next governor takes office. Walker says it would be worth it to return that money, plus the rest of the stimulus cash.

Walker said he’d rather fix Wisconsin’s roads and bridges.

Democrat Tom Barrett’s campaign says the federal funds can only be spent on the train – otherwise, they’ll go to another state for a similar train.

Walker’s GOP primary opponent, Mark Neumann, also reiterated his opposition to the rail project. He called its operation an “unfunded liability that would add more debt to the backs of Wisconsin taxpayers.”

Thursday, August 19, 2010

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