Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Chairman Rose wants to raid your wallets

Kenosha County Board Chairman Terry Rose can't take "no" for an answer.

The legislature turned thumbs down on the Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee rail project -- a costly boondoggle that largely duplicates existing service.

But Rose wants to raid your wallet.

He's asking the county board to approve a resolution expressing support for this boondoggle.

But what Rose never did was press to have Dairyland Greyhound Park's owners to keep their promise to build an Amtrak station in Kenosha.

Right now Kenosha is the last stop for many Metra trains coming north from Chicago. The only reason we have this service is because it allows Metra to run trains in and out of Zion and Winthrop Harbor as most Metra North Line trains begin and end their runs at Waukegan.

As any Metra rider know, the trip to downtown Chicago is slow and clunky, to say the least.

By contrast, Amtrak runs on 79 mile per hour tracks from Chicago to Milwaukee with stops at Glenview, Illinois and at the new Amtrak stations at Sturtevant and Mitchell Field. Seven daily trains run each way (six on Sundays) with funding provided by the states of Wisconsin and Illinois.

We already have high-speed rail service that the taxpayers are already paying for. All we need is the Kenosha Amtrak station with connecting local bus service. That's a lot cheaper than the proposed KRM fleece.

KRM is also a bad deal for Kenosha County because about 30% of our workers commute to jobs in northern Illinois. More Kenosha County residents work in Cook County, Illinois than in Milwaukee County.

KRM would provide downtown-to-downtown rail service but how many businesses are located in the downtown areas?

The legislature wisely killed the funding for this crazy idea. Let's hope the Kenosha County Board isn't as wacky at its chairman.

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