Scott Walker – penny-pinching, anti-growth, anti-business & out-of-touch

Milwaukee County Executive and GOP Gubernatorial candidate, Scott Walker has done it again.  In today’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he argues against accepting funding for the Madison – Milwaukee high speed rail, unless funds for operating the trains are provided.  This short-sightedness reflects the lack of progressive, pro-growth and future-oriented thinking that Mr. Walker has shown in Milwaukee County and would bring to the Governor’s seat should we be so unfortunate as to place him there.   I for one, want to see a visionary, pro-business, pro-growth individual managing the reigns of government; not a penny-pinching, backwards-looking reactionary.

Tom Barrett Milwaukee’s Mayor and Democratic gubernatorial hopeful had this to say about the train:

“… the project shows “the power of partnerships” with the president and the state.

“It’s an incredible day for the state of Wisconsin. I know people personally who are applying for a job in Madison and who would love to use this high-speed rail,” he said, referring to his run for governor.”

Meanwhile, Tom Still, President of the Wisconsin Technology Council, a technology boosting and networking group,  had this to say about Wisconsin’s getting a piece of the federal largesse in a recent editorial in Wisconsin Technology Network:

“Since the 1960s, Wisconsin has largely stood by while other states aggressively competed for their fair share of federal grants and aid. That bottom-quartile performance among the 50 states is why Wisconsin has long been known as a “tax donor” state, meaning its taxpayers contribute far more to the feds than they get in return.

Now an award of $810 million in federal stimulus money will extend high-speed rail from the Chicago-Milwaukee corridor to Madison and, in time, to the Twin Cities area in Minnesota. For once, Wisconsin got to the train station on time.”

Not only was he extolling our getting a piece of the pie, but he and the Council see the train contributing to the “I-Q corridor” through high tech collaboration to provide  economic value and benefits including:

  1. Better connections for Wisconsin
  2. Better connections for the region
  3. More travel choices make sense
  4. High speed rail use growing
  5. Job creation

If anything, we should take the funds to invest in this first generation of “high speed rail” and be looking at how to get real high speed rail not only here, but elsewhere in high density corridors throughout the United States.  Once again, we’re falling behind as can be seen by the high speed rail network  that is being built in China while “spurring growth” according to The New York Times.  China is set to have 42 high speed rail lines by 2012 according to the article.  Here’s what else they had to say about these high speed trains:

“Indeed, the web of super-fast trains promises to make China even more economically competitive, connecting this vast country — roughly the same size as the United States — as never before, much as the building of the Interstate highway system increased productivity and reduced costs in America a half century ago.

As China upgrades and expands its rail system, it creates the economies of large-scale production for another big export industry. “The sheer volume of equipment that they will require, and the technology that will have to be developed, will simply catapult them into a leadership position,“ said Stephen Gardner, Amtrak’s vice president for policy and development.”

Now which perspective would you rather see – backwards looking, penny-pinching Walker or forward-looking future making, economy building Barrett?


Related Articles

11 thoughts on “Scott Walker – penny-pinching, anti-growth, anti-business & out-of-touch

  1. It is shortsighted to ask how it will be paid before before it is built? No, it’s common sense instead of kicking the can down the road.

    I want a visionary, pro-business, pro-growth individual who is also penny-pinching and has my tax dollars in mind before going out and spending like crazy.

  2. Thanks for the comment. I’d like to see a Governor who believes in education, including finishing his own, as demonstrated by a degree from an accredited school of higher education. I’d hate to see the UW System decimated by more penny pinching from someone without the vision or understanding about what higher education does and means for the future of our state and country.

    1. Wow, that was snobby. How many hard-working Wisconsin citizens do not have a degree? And since liberals always seem to think it takes someone of the same kind to represent certain segments of society, then I ask using this liberal logic, doesn’t that segment of society deserve someone who can relate and is like them?

  3. If we take the $800 million to build it, how much will it cost to operate and where will that money come from? Taking the money without answering this question is…well it’s just plain idiotic.

    I have one question to those supporting this. At what level of usage will you consider this a failure…or…less than a success if you don’t like that word. Is there even one? Or is the fact that it exists at all make it a success regardless of cost and ridership? Or maybe if there aren’t enough rides, it’s a failure of the marketing, or the people, not of the project itself.

    How few people aboard on a trip will make you say, “that’s not a good usage of public funds?”

    1. Locke, it’s not about it being successful, meeting a need, or if people even want it. It’s about being in control of something big and transforming our society (so apparently we can be like the utopia that is Europe). When they build it and it’s not successful, they will propose “incentives” for people to ride it (i.e. tinker with things to make it unbearable to drive, like tolls on I-94). It’s convenient and cheap in major metro areas — this train will be neither.

  4. Don’t forget that highways and air travel are already subsidized by the government. Should we just eliminate those other things while we’re at it?

    1. Highways are funded through the transportation fund, which comes from taxes levied on a gallon of gas. That’s a user fee, not a subsidy. Do you support tacking on similiar user frees for train passengers?

      Also in air travel, federal taxes are tacked on to every airline ticket so that it’s the passengers who use the system help “subsidize” it. The government also does not own the airline (yet). Is a private company going to run the Madwaukee Rail?

      1. Not to mention, people actually USE the highways and airplanes. Seriously, if the Milwaukee to Madison train is actually well-utilized and the cost per rider is reasonable, I will quite simply shut the hell up on the issue. I haven’t seen anything to convince me this is the case.

        So we’re going to take $800 million in federal money (that didn’t just come from nowhere, it came from all of our pockets) and be stuck paying millions in operating costs (again God forbid some evil person actually wants to know what they’ll be before making the commitment) for something that doesn’t provide value to very many people.

  5. Hence the problem with microcosmic thinking: “If it doesn’t benefit me directly, what good is it?”

    The two facts that you are missing is that ridership on the Hiawatha is going up and that businesses tend to build near hubs of transit.

    It would seem to me that the more businesses there are, the more people who will be working, which will in turn ease the tax burden. But who wants that?

  6. I don’t agree that building an expensive train just to build it is the answer. Spending money for the sake of spending money is not the way to go IMHO. Spend where needed for the benefit of people not just right now but for future generations. That said I disagree with everything else Scott Walker stands for. He can easily make good on his jobs promise but will do so by ending jobs for state workers with no net gain for Wisconsin. He will worsen the rich get richer and poor get poorer economy. I want him out!

Comments are closed.