Save The Train Rally to be Held in 5 Cities – Sat 12:00

For those of you who believe in economic development, jobs, saving the environment and transportation innovation; let yourself be heard; by joining the Sierra Club and other interested supporters of regional high speed rail.  Rallies are scheduled to be held in 5 cities – Milwaukee, Oshkosh, Madison, LaCrosse and Eau Claire this Saturday, November 13th at noon.  You can “like” the Save the Train Action page on Facebook while seeing the scheduled location for each of these rallies around the state.

Call Scott Walker’s transition office at 608 261 9200 or tweet @GovWalker to let him know that you support:

  • the train,
  • economic development
  • jobs
  • transportation options
  • regional tourism
  • keeping Federal dollars in WI

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24 thoughts on “Save The Train Rally to be Held in 5 Cities – Sat 12:00

  1. The US and WI is falling further behind – From today’s Wall Street Journal talking about investments in high speed rail in China “When it goes into service in 2012 linking Beijing and Shanghai, the train will cut travel time to four hours from 10, and will be part of a network that is expected to extend 9,700 miles by 2020.”

    Also from the article “China Railway Group Ltd., a civil-engineering company, is participating in a high-speed rail project in Venezuela. China Railway Construction Corp. is helping build a high-speed line in Turkey linking Ankara and Istanbul. China’s Railway ministry has said Chinese companies are bidding for contracts in Brazil, and that Russia, Saudi Arabia and Poland have expressed interest.”

    Read more:

    Are we going to become even more 3rd world in our attitudes and in our daily living reality? While Less Developed Countries are investing in rail and their future, we are letting our infrastructure decline. We need to make investments in American infrastructure and jobs while stopping this obsequious bowing to the right wing chant of American “exceptionalism”, when the reality is we are wasting billions of dollars on useless wars, on tax cuts for the wealthy; while under-investing in our future.

    We’ve seen this with our rankings on health care – 37th in the world ( and we’re seeing it with our declining infrastructure. It’s time to wake up America!

    Now is the time for bold initiatives, shutting down wasteful military spending in endless wars and continuing our reinvestment in America. Governor Walker get with it! President Obama get with it! Senate obstructionists get with it! Wisconsin “parochialists” get with it!

    “Refudiate the anti-train gang”

    1. Can I ask you MCM when was the last time you’ve been to China? You repeatedly bring them up in your posts as a reason why we should implement rail. Maybe we should institute a one child only policy – just like they do.

        1. I say it because China is completely different. The train line he talks about connects 2 cities with populations of around 20 million each. The train you guys so desperately need will barely serve 1 million people. Furthermore, I’ve actually ridden one of the trains in China, the route from Beijing to Qingdao(I got off in Zibo). It is a 4 hour train ride with maybe 3 or 4 stops, and went top speed of about 260 km/h. It was standing room only and surely held many more passengers than this train will. This train won’t go near as fast, has just as many stops in far shorter distance, and it runs RIGHT NEXT TO A HIGHWAY. Comparing a train in China to this stupid train here is as about non sequitor as you can get.

      1. Don’t forget about Watertown, they’ll be having a rally on Saturday as well, at the proposed station site on S. Church St.

        1. Ah yes the thriving metropolis of Watertown. How many people are expected to get on the train at that stop each day?

  2. Oh brother…you want me to debate with you after you play the “US ranks low in HC” card? Are you kidding me? And just because less developed countries are investing in rail, does NOT mean it’s the right thing to do even there. I have done my research and I am on the other side of the fence. These trains are too costly to maintain and ridership is low. Let’s improve our roadways and bus systems first.

  3. America is WIDE awake and rejecting your progressive policies. Were you not paying attention on Nov 2nd? Obama is next. Gone in 2012!!!

  4. “Obama is next.”

    That’s what the opposition said about Reagan … and Clinton … and Bush.

  5. “For those of you who believe in economic development, jobs, saving the environment and transportation innovation”

    I believe in all of those things. Too bad this train proposal accomplishes none of them.

    1. Have they ever done a discounted cash flow analysis? Revenue and risk projections. Without such analysis the contention this train will be an engine of economic development is based on nothing more than butterflies, unicorns and rainbows.

      1. I’ve downloaded almost 400 MB of PDFs including the grant application information. I won’t claim to have read every word – but I have looked over most of the pages of almost all of the documents I’ve been able to find. Primarily I was looking for just what you mentioned, detailed financial analysis and most importantly, ridership projections. Never found what I was looking for, but some overall comments:

        The $817 million was a rather interesting number. It’s made up of the actual estimated cost of $651.8 million plus $132.6 million for “contingencies” plus $33.2 million for inflation between 2010 and completion. In the grant application itself, the $651 million seemed like it was largely pulled out of thin air. But it was amusing to me that they took what they thought it would cost, then added $132 million of fluff to it. So much confidence in their estimate they just arbitrarily add 20% to it. And of course, that actually is the money they just get – which doesn’t make it so much contingency money after all now, does it? Seems like they’re assuming an awful lot of inflation as well. Ouch.

        The operating costs we’ve seen quoted is actually an estimated “Operating subsidy” from Amtrak. As such, since for the vast majority of Amtrak’s lines the subsidy plus fairs results in a net loss, that number can’t honestly be considered actual operating cost.

        Finally on the ridership issue – it’s sort of entertaining. There’s a portion of the grant application explaining that the Madison to Miwaukee route stands on it’s own – that there’s enough value in it that it should be viewed as independent of the other routes. This surprised me a bit since, that is a rather unique argument. In most pro-train literature, the argument is made that while individual routes themselves may not be profitable or completely justified on their own, the network of routes overall increase the value of individual routes. Personally, I think there is merit to that argument. But then, counter to that argument, all of the ridership estimates I’ve been able to find in the grant and other documentation always list the total ridership estimates of the total Chicago-Milwaukee-Madison routes and they don’t actually list out the Madison-Milwaukee route on it’s own. Curious, no? I did do a little math on my own, since they list the existing Chicago-Milwaukee route ridership separate, I could subtract that from the total ridership projection. But not knowing what kind of growth they project for that route alone makes it just a guess.

    2. No jobs?? Who builds the train, who builds the tracks, who runs the trains – ghosts and gremlins? These are jobs. Saving the environment?? If you get cars off the road between Madison and Chicago you aren’t saving fuel, reducing pollution? I guess you are one of those climate deniers like Sarah Palin. Economic Development?? Even Tom Still of the Wisconsin Technology Council has stated that the train will help connect high tech companies and people in Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison (and eventually elsewhere all the way to Minneapolis). This blend is what generates new ideas and economic development. Tourism increases are also part of economic development. Transportation innovation?? This would be new for us and that makes it an innovation. I for one would have liked to see additional dollars being spent to create even faster trains.

      1. The jobs of building the train and tracks will be temporary and at government expense. (Besides I thought they were going to use existiting track?) The few people it will take to operate the trains will also be at government expense. They will be state employees won’t they?

        It won’t save the enviornment because you won’t be getting that many cars off the road. Plus how much fuel does it take to run the train and per passenger? No reduction of pollution there.

        I’m not sure what kind of tourism you think you will get. Show me a middle-class family of four that will be able to ride this train at $50 or $60 a piece.

        1. Have you ever heard of meetings? Not all tourism is made up of families of four, nor do all Americans live behind white picket fences (Just look at Rush Limbaugh and his 4 marriages). There are adult tourists who would take the train from Chicago – Madison for the weekend to go to the Farmer’s market, attend an event at the Overture Center, visit the Art Museum and have a great meal. Vice versa, I’d be on the train to Chicago and Milwaukee in heartbeat to do the same going the other way. This is tourism! If I can get over to Milwaukee conveniently for a performance at the Skylight or some other venue, have a great meal with wine and not have to worry about driving back, I’m interested.

          1. Again, what are the ridership projections?

            Meetings are great but unless all the people are coming from one of the stops they won’t increase ridership. Or have you seen those projections market analysis, pre-sales. etc…

            How do we know that each trip won’t lose money? That’s what ultimatley did pan Am in

            1. Found some. If you go to the:
              DOT’s Railroad Projects page and scroll down to the Track 2, Madison to Milwaukee area, and download doc #13, Financial Play (or just click here there is some better information than I’ve seen elsewhere.

              There are two different numbers for annual ridership for the Madison-Milwaukee. One is 338,000 and the other is 372,000 for 2013. They list 6 daily round trips. I’m not sure if that’s 7 days a week or 5 (minus weekends & holidays). So…

              372,000 / 365 / 6 = about 170 round trip passengers or 85 riders per trip (if it’s 6 trips every single day).

              372,000 / 250 /6 = about 280 round trip passengers or 124 riders per trip (if it’s 6 not counting weekends & holidays).

              338,000 @365 days, the numbers are 154 round trip passengers, 77 each trip.

              338,000 @250 days, 225 and 112 each trip.

              If I’ve made a mistake, feel free to point it out.

              On page 31, titled: Table A3.1.  Amtrak Operating and Financial Results, for both Chicago-Milwaukee and Milwaukee-Madison routes, they list:
              Incremental Direct Operating (Loss): ($12,200,000)

          2. Gotta love it when you go out of your way to take cheap shots against Limbaugh or other conservatives, even when they don’t make sense! Not a great way to strengthen your arguments.

            I used “family of four” because that is what most projections are based on when they do averages (anytime they raise prices at the ballgame, the media cite “family of four”).

            But even as a single person, an individual is probably not going to go have dinner in Milwaukee (using your example), when it is a $50-60 cost just to get there. Aside from the cost, there is plenty of evidence that suggests people usually stay in their own bubbles — close radius to home and work. Think about the last time you went across town to a restuarant as opposed to the one down the street. And even if one does take in a dinner and a show, that is a special occassion — a few times a year.

            And please find me one person that is going to take a train for $$$ via Milwaukee to come to Madison’s farmers market or Overture!!! You might want to get out of the Madison bubble to realize that no one from Chicago is going to come all the way to Madison on a regular basis for lettuce, culture, or restaurants. I think you live in a fantasy world where the pollution from the train will only admit sunshine and lollipops.

  6. As far as the environmental impact is it really going to be less? consider all of the coal that is necessary to fabricate the rails and cars, the gasoline to operate the construction equipment, not to mention the energy it would take to make that equipment

    The St. Louis Federal Reserve noted that it would be less expensive to simply buy all the expected riders a toyota prius than building a light rail system.

    Jobs? Job creation is a poor reason to justify any project. For example, we could create 1000s of jobs if we decided to build the world’s largest building in the middle of Stevens Point. But it doesn’t make sense because it would have negative operating costs and if you have a negative operating you aren’t creating any jobs as other public sector jobs will need to be cut. The point is that money is a limited resource, which can only be split between so many different projects.

  7. If we had used the same logic in 1956-1960 when President Eisenhower was rolling out his plans for the Interstate system (don’t you dare build a bunch of highways and leave the state with the upkeep – patrolling, patching, plowing) that is being used for the train (and I don’t remember them being ribbon cut when they finally linked East Coast to West…seems they went a few miles at a time), you’d be going to Madison for Badger games via Capitol Drive (because I-94 would have gone from Chicago to Iowa to Minneapolis) and Green Bay Ave would be the route of choice to Lambeau field (what’s an I-43 daddy?).

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