Thursday, March 6, 2008

A novel idea: Spend taxpayer money as if it was your own

The Kenosha News coughs up another biased report favoring the proposed Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee rail line but with an appropriate twist.

This time there's been some discussion about linking existing local transit systems which actually does make some sense.

But then the newspaper once again drivels into its one-sided love affair with the costly KRM rail boondoggle.

I've harped about this many times but suffice to say that the KRM plan is to upgrade the old North Western tracks from Kenosha to Milwaukee (which were once double-tracked before Amtrak was created in 1971) and run Metra passenger trains north of Kenosha to provide a painfully slow ride from Milwaukee to Chicago.

The newspaper reports that lame duck Mayor John Antaramian and indicted County Executive Allan Kehl back sales tax increases to fund KRM. As comedian Chris Rock would say, "That's just plain ignorant."

Wisconsin and Illinois already pay for a half-dozen daily high speed Amtrak runs each way between Chicago and Milwaukee. New Amtrak stations are up in Sturtevant and at Mitchell Field plus the once dingy downtown Milwaukee terminal is now a glistening intermodal transportation model.

Instead of squandering taxpayer money, all that's needed is a Kenosha Amtrak station -- something that Dairyland Greyhound Park promised to build. The city never held Dairyland to that promise but regardless of who pays for it, building a Kenosha Amtrak station is an appropriate, cost-effective alternative.

Putting it another way, it's what an elected official could and should do if he was spending taxpayers' money as it is was his own.

3 comments:

Real Debate said...

That $91.5 million in seed money no longer is there....

Anonymous said...

Dick:

I am an ardent supporter of KRM service...and just as opposed to public funding of it. We need a private company to build this, or we don't need it. (I would also support a public loan, like the old Chrysler loans in the 70's).

Parking is about $20/day at Milwaukee airport (long-term is cheaper), and a 'car service' (or limo, if you can call a TownCar a limo anymore). If I go on a 2-day business trip, it's $170 + tip for the car service. I'd gladly pay $100 for a round-trip ticket on the train. BUT IT MUST STOP IN KENOSHA!

I once tried to catch the train in Sturdevant; the train was canceled, but since the station isn't manned, we had to call AMTRAK to find this out (after waiting 1/2 hour at the station).

Current rail service either is non-existent (hence the "we need it" crowd), or offers crappy service.

Let's get a private company to come in and do it right.

RAG said...

Parking is $11/day at Mitchell Field. What we need is the Amtrak station built. Shouldn't cost too much to build a platform and waiting room.