Election Puts High Speed Rail Projects in Danger
Plans for high speed rail projects across the country have been put into flux as a result of a series of Republican election victories this week. Newly elected Republican officials throughout the country have indicated their plans to work to cancel high speed rail projects, often funded by federal stimulus money.
The governors of both Wisconsin and Ohio have pledged to reverse state plans to construct high speed rail lines. Scott Walker, the incoming Republican governor of Wisconsin said that instead of spending money on a high speed link between Milwaukee and Madison, the funds should go towards improving roads and bridges.
If Walker is successful in thwarting the Milwaukee to Madison link, he would put into question the viability of the larger planned rail network that would connect Minneapolis, Madison, Milwaukee and Chicago.
Although Walker says he wants the money spent on roads, under the conditions of the stimulus grant, this is not permitted. Therefore, the money would revert back to the federal government.
John Kasich, the incoming Republican governor of Ohio, also has indicated his intentions to kill a rail project in that state.
“Passenger rail is not in Ohio’s future,” Kasich said this week. “That train is dead.”