Steve Jagler at OnMilwaukee has an article up there about how the business community is largely silent
on the subject of the high-speed rail line between Milwaukee and Madison.High-speed rail in Wisconsin may be an $823 million priority for the Obama administration, but from a public relations standpoint, it is an abandoned orphan.
At best, most business advocacy groups in Wisconsin are keeping the high-speed rail project at arm's length. In most cases, that's because their members are as divided about the issue as the public seems to be.
At the same time, I read that the Republican gubernatorial candidates are saying they'd 86 the railway if they get elected. In response, the DOT is working like mad
to get contracts in place lest a Republican, i.e. – Milwaukee Co. Executive Scott Walker, take office.
I guess I've just been reading too much stuff about regional planning for the Midwest because it puzzles me that neither a Milwaukee official nor state business groups seem to be showing any interest in HSR. Milwaukee watches as its job base
dwindles yet those who should be talking about a rail connection as having the potential to help draw Madison-Milwaukee-Chicago together as a regional economy aren't.
Again, perhaps I've just been reading too much Richard Longworth
, but I think he and his ilk make good points. The Midwest is in decay. As the economy becomes ever more global, we have declining rural areas and a Rust Belt. The main point they make is that the Midwest has to strengthen itself and then unify to compete in the global economy. That means that Wisconsin will have to partner with the Flatlanders in Illinois, Iowans, etc. Closer to home Madison and Milwaukee are going to have to become conjoined and perhaps a rail line can be play a role in bringing our two cities closer together as well as creating ties between Madison and the Midwest's capital, Chicago.
We Madisonians spend a lot of time arguing over the Edgewater but our city's future lies with another building – the Wisconsin Institutes of Discovery
- and our ability to leverage what happens there in a global market. And we can't do it alone.