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News Archive
YOUR CHANCE TO COMMENT ON Connection 2030
7/24/09: The Dept. of Transportation's long range plans are laid out in "Connection 2030" and they are giving citizens a chance to speak out!
Five public hearings will be held in August in the following communities:  Milwaukee, Madison, Appleton, Steven's Point, and Eau Claire. The Madison hearing will be Wednesday, Aug. 12 from 4-7 pm.  Click here for more information.

RR CROSSINGS PAGE UPDATED
7/21/09: To view the number of times per day the proposed train will cross streets on your commute, in your neighborhood, or between your house and the nearest emergency room, check out our updated RR Crossings chart

O'Toole Testifies before Senate Subcommittee
As the summary of his July 7, 2009 testimony to the Senate Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation, and Community Development, Randal O'Toole stated:
Instead of a futile effort to change American lifestyles, we simply need to make the form of transportation used most by Americans (as well as most Europeans and Japanese) even more efficient than it is today.
REALITY: TRANSIT DOES NOT SAVE ENERGY
WARNING: Read this article only if you actually like LOGIC.
The Mass Transit Panacea and Other Fallacies about Energy, October 1979 The Atlantic

If most people want to drive cars, how will subways save fuel? Did OPEC decide which states should have gasoline shortages—or is it possible that OPEC is not the villain? How does it happen that the price of gasoline (in uninflated dollars) has dropped continuously since 1940? An economist raises these and other iconoclastic questions about the "energy crisis.

SEC OF TRANSPORTATION SPILLS THE BEANS
Ray LaHood, Secretary of Transportation, said that "about everything we do around here is government intrusion in people's lives...[my livability initiative] is a way to coerce people out of their cars."
[Read full article by Ronald Utt of The Heritage Foundation]
URGE ERPENBACH TO LEAD VETO OVERRIDE
Senator Erpenbach's article in The Monroe Times, "Voters should have a say on RTA," is well-written and timely.  Email him and encourage him to lead the override of the Governor's veto of the binding referendum.

PODCAST: Bill Richardson, Eileen Bruskewitz Up Front
July 8, 2009: AM 1310 WIBA's Up Front with Vicki McKenna
Part a (9 min): Scientists studying Madison saw major problems with commuter rail; blockage of hospital access; pollution.
Part b (10 min): Why is the media ignoring the facts about commuter rail?; we need a human blockade train demo; people don't understand how many RR crossings will impede them, whether traveling by car, bike, or foot.

QUESTIONS PLAGUE DANE CO. COMMUTER RAIL
7/7/09 Article by Paul Snyder looks at outlook for job creation.
[Read article at The Daily Reporter]
WILL DANE COUNTY GET COMMUTER TRAINS??
Cap Times article by Kristin Czubkowski 7/06/2009: Just how close is Dane County to getting commuter rail?
Many Quotes from Dane Co. Supervisor Eileen Bruskewitz. Even Paul Soglin in his blog "Waxing America" comments on the Cap Times article and points out how trains cause urban sprawl. Some interesting comments about his blog accompany it.

PODCAST: Eileen Bruskewitz & Brian Schimming talk Veto Override on AM 1310 WIBA's UpFront 7/2/09
Call Legislative Hotline at 266-9960 or 800-362-9472 to tell them you want this veto overridden!
Part a (8 min): Doyle has put RTA and sales tax on autopilot, we don't have a voice anymore.  If legislators were sincere about the binding referendum, they'd override Doyle's veto.
Part b (7 min): No $$ for highways from RTA- was the promise a rouse?
Part c (8 min): Does anyone believe the RTA is not about trains???
Part d (5 min): Cost per rider is unbelievable; Nancy Mistele calls in to agree; let your legislators know you care!

PODCAST: Bill Richardson & Brian Schimming talk RTA on AM 1310 WIBA's UpFront 6/30/09
Congestion is the problem, better roads are the solution; Gov. Doyle's veto; What do people need to know?
Part a (5 min); Part b (6 min); Part c (5 min)
Another Freight Disaster

13 Killed as Train Derails, Explodes in Italy

The jury is still out on last week's commuter rail crash in DC, and here is another train wreck, this one a freight train.  But remember: downtown Middleton, residential Middleton and Madison all have houses close by the tracks, and if commuter rail becomes a reality, the tracks will be running freight in the wee hours between 12 midnight and 5 am.
Gov. Doyle vetoes money for highways and binding referendum on adding 1/2 cent sales tax for Dane Co. RTA
Doyle has signed the $62 billion budget while using his line-item veto on the binding RTA referendum, so he doesn't think we should be able to vote on whether we want 1/2 cent sales tax for Dane County to fund the rail project.  He has also deleted money for highways as part of RTA.  [Read article at The Wisconsin State Journal]

This whole thing is a train wreck
Topf Wells, chief of staff for Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, said:

“(An RTA) is not automatically connected with commuter rail,” he said. “To say it is, is either uninformed or unfair. There are other varieties of improvements in mass transit, paratransit and roads that this money could go to.”

Dane Co. Supervisor Bruskewitz is not buying the 'RTA is not about trains' stories.  Transport 2020 has spent $9 million in tax dollars over 10 years and submitted a New Starts application for commuter rail in June of 2008 for $255 million!  Mr. Wells does not say "this money will go to"-- instead, he says "this money could go to..."   [Read article at The Daily Reporter]
Local Wisconsin Transit systems will take a $3.5 million financial hit if the Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee (KRM) rail become a reality
WHICH ONES?  Sun Prairie, Monona, Stoughton, Janesville, Beloit & 18 others.
We already told you that 23 cities with transit systems would suffer CUTS in order to fund the KRM line (there is only so much money in the state's share of the federal $$ for transit).
This new article provides an update, showing the same thing:  huge cuts from existing transit systems to fund the KRM.
Think twice about 'green' transport, say scientists
Fascinating!  Coal-fired electrical plants powering Boston's trains may be less 'green' than your average SUV!!
UC-Davis scientists show that the total picture of energy usage must be considered and trains are not the only answer to transporting people cleanly and efficiently. [Go to article]
DID YOU MISS THIS PODCAST?

ALERT**Stop the Great Train Robbery**

On May 1, 2009 at 2:22 AM, during the dead of night, the Wisconsin State Legislature permitted Dane County to increase the sales tax for commuter trains (for a Regional Transit Authority—RTA).  This tax increase will be voted on by the legislature by the end of June 2009. 

At a time when our state and local budgets are running tremendous deficits, these legislators are raising the sales tax to pay for a commuter train that few want and even fewer would use!

Time is short
Your legislators need to hear from you.  Click here to find out who your State Representative and State Senators are, then pick up the phone and call them or you can set up an appointment to meet with them in person, email, or write a snail mail letter. 

Send a clear message.

  • I don’t want commuter trains that will increase congestion on our roads and pollution in our air.
  • I don’t want the sales tax to be raised
  • I don’t want sales tax dollars used for a Regional Transit/Tax Authority (RTA)
  • I don’t want commuter trains that few will use - they cost too much.
  • Trains cost too much and do too little; Dane County cannot afford it.

PODCAST: MITCH MUSES ABOUT RTA & HEARINGS
Common sense abounds!!  Did you miss Mitch's show on Thursday, 3/5/09? Excellent comments from Mitch and his callers about what a waste a train would be and how we can't trust an unelected RTA with an important power such as taxing authority.
Part 1 (4 min); Part 2 (6 min)
PODCAST: VICKI & EILEEN DISCUSS RTA HEARINGS
Part 1 (9 min): Sun Prairie mtg had best attendance- 140 attended; 128 against RTA/train proposal and only 13 for the RTA/train. Top 3 comments against RTA: 1, don't raise taxes; 2, focus on buses; 3, tell us the real cost. 
Part 2 (2 min): Transport 2020 official goal #1 is land use!  Official goal #5 is efficient transportation!!!
LETTER FROM A CAVEMAN
Greg K. from Madison has penned a letter to us about the Transport 2020 hearings that we'd like to share.  He says, in part, "I heard a number of speakers skillfully and intellectually, along with humor and wit, poke so many holes in their [the T2020] presentation."
READERS OF WSJ REACT TO COMMUTER RAIL
Interesting comments section following the 2/23/09 article about RTA by Matthew DeFour: most people writing comments are against RTA/commuter rail.
"Regional Transit Authority could come before voters in the spring of 2010"

BUS RIDERS UNION SUES RAIL!? AND WINS!
It was a fight over money - imagine that- because the rail projects were diverting monies from the bus service budget. They claim, too, that the buses were serving Latinos, African-Americans and Asians while the commuter rail was characterized by a "caucasian" rider base, so they were claiming discrimination, and used Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. Here's a clip about it.
WHO'S GOING TO PAY FOR THIS?
According to a confidental source, lawsuit claims for the commuter rail crash that killed 25 may reach 1 billion, and who's going to pay?  Since freight haulers have no liability, it will likely be California taxpayers. [Read about the crash]
Victims have until March 12, 2009 to file a suit, and one source reported that there were already 45 injury claims and 24 death claims.

RACINE COUNTY BOARD SHOOTS ITSELF IN FOOT, MISSES A FEW TOES
"County Board narrowly in favor of regional transit"
Board votes 13-8 to back RTA, but leaves a few toes to stand against Rail on the foot it shot:
No sales tax
No unelected board
Requires taxes collected in county be used in the county
Opposes requirement that RTA pursue commuter rail

DANE COUNTY TOWNS ASSOC POSITION ON R.T.A. & COMMUTER RAIL
The Chairman of the Dane County Towns Association (DCTA), Jerry Derr, has released a position statement on commuter rail.

BURLINGTON FLYER COMMUTER RAIL CRASHED IN VERMONT
Commuter rail is a failure in Burlington, Vermont. Costs much higher than estimates, ridership much lower, and diesel engines polluted more than the few cars it took off the road.  Read the report here.

PODCAST: VICKI AND BILL LAY IT ON THE LINE
Crucial local meetings coming up (see Upcoming Events) require sensible people to speak out!
On Thursday, 2/12/09 Vicki and Bill discussed the big picture on AM-1310 WIBA: how and why the pro-train group is railroading this through, and why it's CRUCIAL for us to show up at the "Public Hearing" meetings.
Up Front with Vicki McKenna 2/12/09 Part 1 (10 min); Part 2 (7 min)
ST LOUIS: COMMUTER RAIL/SALES TAX DROP CAUSES BUS SERVICE CUTS
Buried on page 2, cost overruns and litigation from new light rail system is main reason the St. Louis Transit Authority cuts bus system, mothballs 165 buses paid for with your federal dollars!
Also, sales taxes that support the transit system have dropped with the economy.
“They’re going to be stranding a whole lot of people,” said Val Butler... [go to article]
In Madison, the battle over a 50 cent bus fare increase, unchanged since 2000, lasted 3 months.  A 3% (nickel) raise each year would have raised it 50 cents.  Madison Metro hemorrhages $39 million tax dollars a year with fares covering only just under 19% of the cost ($9 million).
Our $48 million/year bus system is losing even more money and County Exec Kathleen Falk want to add a billion dollar train system paid for by city, sales, county, state and federal taxes?
PODCAST: MITCH INTERVIEWS RANDAL O'TOOLE
AM-1310 WIBA's Outside the Box featured Randal O'Toole on Wednesday, Feb. 4: Part 1 (8 min); Part 2 (8 min)
PODCAST: MITCH TALKS TRAINS
AM-1310 WIBA's Outside the Box featured Rodney Kreunen and Art Webb on Tuesday, Feb. 3:
Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4
PODCAST: VICKI & BILL RICHARDSON TALK RTA
Part 1 (6 min): RTA mission is to control land use! Trains=stink & noise; we don't want Cabrini Green!
Part 2 (4 min): Walk to the train? Don't think so! Traffic waits for train 160 times/day PER crossing!

GIVE 'EM AN EARFUL!
PODCAST: MITCH MUSES ABOUT MADISON RAIL
Mitch Henck talked with Bill Richardson on AM 1310 WIBA's Outside the Box Wednesday, 1/28/09 about why anyone would think trains would help congestion in Madison.
Part 1 (10 min): Rail limited to straight lines, buses are flexible and work fine
Part 2  (10 min): Bill's clear logic prompts Mitch to ask him if he will run for office
BRUSKEWITZ INTERVIEWED BY DAILY REPORTER.COM
FUTURE RAIL DISASTERS: High speed rail Madison-Milwaukee, or We don't have the money, passengers, or a plan, but let's start building it NOW!
"State keeps working on Milwaukee-Madison railroad"

COST OVERRUNS
Flawed methodology caused by political 'planners' agendas overruling realistic analysis by engineers
Danish professor Bent Flyvbjerg discovers the reason cost overruns are so common around the world and a new way of making estimates before building
"Derailing the Boondoggle"
Public Works project overruns from the US and around the world
PODCAST: WENDELL COX  ON UPFRONT
Wendell Cox on AM 1310 WIBA's Upfront with Vicki McKenna Monday, 1/26/09.
Part 1 (7 min): No rail anywhere has reduced any congestion
Part 2 (5 min): People won't stop using cars!
Part 3 (8 min): Cars are potentially greener than mass transit

PODCAST: BILL TELLS VICKI IT'S TIME TO NAIL THE SILVER SPIKE IN 'COUNT TRACKULA'
Bill Richardson on AM 1310 WIBA's Upfront with Vicki McKenna to discuss total building costs of commuter rail in Madison...$1 billion plus! They compared this to the costs of the 2002 Hiawatha train in MN ($715 million) and Phoenix light rail ($1.4 billion as of December and still going!)...Madison will be over budget as well.
Part 1 (7 min): Sales tax increase, MN public radio doesn't want train in their backyard, FTA's questions about Madison commuter rail
Part 2 (4 min): WI Legislature special cmte will meet in Feb and March to make RTA happen.   60 highways will have 180 RR crossings/day = gridlock, congestion. 
OH NO! Count Trackula and Night of the Living Dead! Together!!!!
Saturday's (1/17/09) WSJ Guest Column, "Time to nail a silver spike in 'Count Trackula'" reminds us of
County Supervisor Eileen Bruskewitz's 8/23/07 Guest Editorial "Trolley Plan not dead yet."
Transport 2020 and the 'trainiacs" never give up, never die and keep rising from the dead with the same old bad ideas!
Email your state legislators and congressional representatives today!  It may be the only way to STOP The Great Train Robbery!
BUT LIBERALS ARE SUPPOSED TO LOVE COMMUTER RAIL!!
Minnesota Public Radio and Churches don't want the noisy, earth shaking trains in their backyard!
On Jan. 16, 2009, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports
"Construction will be delayed several months, in part, because of concerns raised by Minnesota Public Radio". 
MPR has threatened to sue because they do not want the line to go near their studios because of concern for "noise and vibrations" disrupting their studios.  Several old churches along the proposed route also want the route changed because they have similar fears of vibrations damaging their older buildings. 
Priceless:  MPR suing Light Rail!!!  (The other part of the delay is that the Federal Transit Administration is asking local officials for more information about how they plan to pay for the project).

LIKE DRACULA, SPECIAL CMTE ON R.T.A. RISES AGAIN
The Wisconsin Legislature Special Committee on RTA rises again to suck the lifeblood of our transportation trust funds into commuter rail.
Former Chair Ott disbanded this committee last November due to the $5.4 state deficit, the fact that the 'trainiacs' on the committee decided to raise the sales tax for rail from 1/2 to a full 1% , wanted to do away with that pesky public referendum requirement and the fact that the Dems would be in power.  (And maybe he didn't want his name anywhere near this boondoggle?)
Now two new committee meetings have been posted.  Unfortunately, the 10 AM meeting time means most job-holding citizens won't be able to attend.  Maybe we should record and post on YouTube...
UPDATE:
Dane County has had to withdraw the "New Starts" application they submitted to the FTA.
They will now push hard to approve an RTA in the state legislature.
THIS IS CRUNCH TIME!
EMAIL, CALL, AND WRITE TO YOUR STATE REPRESENTATIVES NOW!
METRO SURVEY SHOWS BUS RIDERSHIP HAPPY- TRAIN ADVOCATES SAY THIS PROVES WE NEED TRAINS!
A recent survey of bus riders shows that more car owners are using the bus.  In addition, average income of riders has increased and the distance riders walk to the bus stop has increased slightly, though the average walk to a bus stop is less than 3 blocks.  Despite public satisfaction with the bus system, train advocates say this finding is justification for trains! [Download pdf file with survey data]
The most interesting conclusion is that the heaviest bus ridership is the University Ave corridor to Middleton and along E Washington—the same as the Transport 2020 proposed rail corridors. This means the heaviest users and happiest bus riders will no longer be able to take the bus to their destination, but will be forced to transfer to trains resulting in added transfers, wait times, and longer commuting times.
COUNTY EXEC CANDIDATE IS ON TRACK
Monday Jan. 5, Nancy Mistele talked with Vicki McKenna.
They discussed the pollution, the delay of emergency vehicles, and the possibility of demonstrating how disruptive all of those gate closings will be with an actual traffic stoppage experiment so that people will understand the impact.
Hear it here (6 minutes).

GOLDEN PODCAST
We captured a treasure!  On Dec. 29. 2008, Jason Lewis
from Minnesota's KTLK-FM discusses Light Rail at length:
Part 1 (5 min): Road taxes are used for transit not just highways; Hiawatha in MN has $10 million/year deficit!
Part 2 (5 min): Why you should care about money wasted on light rail...
Part 3 (2 min): The Potentate of Pork; When gov't invests the motivation is political not financial...
Part 4 (6 min): Rail makes back only $.42 of each dollar 'invested'; in a market system rail would die

TRANSPORT 2020 CMTE DRAFTS WITHDRAWL LETTER
At their Jan. 6, 2009 meeting, the T2020 Implementation Cmte moved to draft copy of letter to Chicago Federal Transit Admin (FTA) withdrawing the New Starts application turned in last June. The Feds had given them a face-saving heads-up letting them know it was better to withdraw it than to have it rejected. [View letter; Download letter pdf]
What now?  T2020 will lobby the state legislature to get their RTA and the taxing authority established to fund the train.  They also plan to lobby Congressional Rep. Petri (on the Transportation cmte) and all state congressmen. 


CONFIRMED! INSTANT GRIDLOCK: 8,000 RR CROSSINGS A DAY
Transport 2020 committee member has reviewed a set of calculations and confirmed that there will be 8,000 RR crossings/day over 60 major streets & highways on proposed 16-mile commuter rail in Madison.
Visualize an oval in the Isthmus area where there will be double tracks and 180 RR crossings/day of stopping regular traffic between 6 am and 11 pm.  Also, single tracks west to Middleton & east to the town of Burke will result in 80 RR crossings a day. 
Click here to see which streets and how many times per day traffic will be idling (that includes fire trucks, police cars, and ambulances) while the Diesel trains go by. 

TELL THE D.O.T. YOUR PRIORITIES
Here's your chance to tell the DOT your priorities for their future projects [Connections 2030].  You actually do have a voice in these decisions, but only if you attend the meetings and/or submit comments. 
Where do you want them to put your Wisconsin gas tax ($0.31/gal) and allocate your federal gas tax dollars ($0.18/gal)? Tell them what you think about the Verona Bypass, increasing road capacity as population grows, the North Mendota Parkway, express bus service, bike trails, or a billion dollar train to service 1% of the population?
Attend a meeting or submit a comment.

HIAWATHA: THE BAD AND THE UGLY
Check out this website about the Hiawatha line in Minnesota.  You'll see a story of increased traffic congestion, costly transportation, and even train deaths.
NEW PHOENIX, AZ 20-MILE METRO LITE RAIL COSTS $1.4 BILLION...SO FAR
After four years of construction Metro lite rail is completed.  Critics say car culture, limited rail and running times shutting down by 11 pm will limit ridership riders will not tolerate waits in summer - too hot.  In Madison from November to April will people tolerate freezing or drive their cars?  The Madison train would be 16 miles long.  So $1 Billion is a reasonable estimate assuming it can be brought in at budget in Madison!

"LITE RAIL OPENING, WHAT NEEDS WORK"
Story from the ARIZONA REPUBLIC, Dec. 28

"COPING WITH LIGHT-RAIL COSTS: TAB FOR OPERATING TRAINS PUTS BURDEN ON CITIES ALREADY TIGHTENING BUDGETS"
Arizona Republic article from Dec. 9 notes they are already projecting higher fares for buses and rail very soon.  Note the costs to the communities involved and the fact their budgets are already in deficit.  They cannibalize the bus system to pay for the train.  The NAACP in LA had to sue the Metro to get them to stop raising bus fares to pay for the train which was losing money rapidly. 
Closer to home,the Hiawatha in MN cost $700 million in 2002 dollars for 12 miles of track and costs $18 million a year to run- a deficit of about $10 million a year. 
PODCAST
Vicki McKenna interviews Tom Rubin of Reason Foundation on the KRM- Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee proposed train: Part 1; Part 2

A STRONG MESSAGE
On December 15, 2008 the FTA told Dane County to withdraw their T2020 New Starts Application or be rejected. Perhaps this letter from the Sun Prairie city council is one reason why. Contact your Dane county city council or town board and ask they do the same.
Wisconsin Club for Growth gives us "The Truth about KRM"
Citing findings from the Reason Foundation, Club for Growth has released a new Fact Sheet called The Truth about KRM [pdf].
Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee Corridor Transit Service Options: An Investigation and Analysis
A pdf file and additional information are available to accompany this report by Thomas Rubin from the Reason Foundation.
Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee (KRM): Is it Magic or the smoke from burning tax dollars?
A well-written dose of brutal honesty from Patrick McIlheran of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
CHECK OUT THIS NEW BOOK:

Mobility First: A New Vision for Transportation in a Globally Competitive Twenty-first Century, by Sam Staley

Mobility First considers domestic transportation through the intersection of four crucial and timely elements: global, economic, and cultural competitiveness; urban development and trends; demographics; and transportation engineering and design. The book proposes solutions that will mitigate the troubling consequences of congestion, spiraling road costs, bad
roads, and political inertia.


HIGH-SPEED RAIL: THE WRONG ROAD FOR AMERICA
Randal O'Toole's recent Policy Analysis hinges on environmental soundness.
VICKI MCKENNA TALKS RTA
Tuesday's UpFront with Vicki McKenna (AM 1310 WIBA) featured Bill Richardson.  Click the links below to listen.
Part 1: RTA Cmte shuts down; Cmte wanted to increase taxes and give RTA more power; Trains=120 Crossings/day=Gridlock.
Part 2: RTA Cmte was mostly pro-rail; Cost projections; Gridlock and pollution; Ambulances delayed at crossings.

CHAIRMAN AL OTT SHUTS DOWN RTA SPECIAL LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE
Chairman Al Ott has released a letter [pdf file] officially shutting down the RTA special legislative committee due to the budget deficit and change of leadership in Senate and Assembly.

HA, HA, HA...OH...THEY'RE NOT KIDDING??

You won't believe the latest boondoggle, so read it for yourself: Plan for park atop Hollywood Freeway is praised

The project would cost about $950 million and could begin as early as 2012...

CAIN'T YOU SEE THAR'S A HOLE IN YOURN POCKET?
The state DOT website is now soliciting public comments on their Connections 2030 draft plan. On their site you can view the plan in small sections (pdf files). 
Please take the time to send them your comments.  If you send it via email we'd appreciate getting a copy of your letter.  If this is ok then email them with this link.  If you don't want to copy us on the email then email them from the link on their site.

RAILS WON'T SAVE AMERICA by Randal O'Toole
Download, read and share Randal O'Toole's Cato Institute briefing paper [pdf file] [CATO link].
PODCAST WISDOM
Did you miss Up Front with Vicki McKenna on 8/7?  Even if you didn't you might want to re-examine this illuminating discussion with Bill Richardson and callers:
Part 1 (10 min): 1000 'enemies' of Wisconsin and how trains will increase congestion
Part 2 (6.5 min):  Planners don't want to hear from the "Community"; Sun Prairie has spoken
Part 3 (9.5 min):  They can't afford roads and busses, but want to raise taxes for trains!
Part 4 (6 min): How 'bout a ferry??  We need to petition legislators; RTA assembly vote will be Jan '09

THIS IS A WARNING
Here is what we've been predicting will happen with the Dane County rail project.  If they get it off and running they will also make it bigger and demand more money before they stop whining. Learn from Arizona!

Light-rail planners are wrong to seek more funding before first phase is complete

 READ IT AND WEEP
Take a look at the minutes from July 29 Transport 2020 Committee meeting [PDF file].  It shows they are NOT ANSWERING questions about costs!
DOLLARS BEFORE SENSE?
Transport 2020 assumes the freight lines will agree to operate at night time only with very limited day freight. Funny, Union Pacific and Southern Wisconsin lines haven't signed anything to that effect yet!  And yet the train supporters want us to spend $240 million on preliminary engineering studies. 
Wouldn't it make sense to find out what it will cost for U.P. and others to take a hit from their freight biz BEFORE spending tax dollars?
Maybe we could learn from what's going on in Austin, TX?...

State Says Commuter Rail Line To Austin Would Cost $2.4B

...or Nashville, TN?
Comparable Train Project Sputters
RAIL AUDIO!
Did you miss Tuesday's radio discussion?  Catch it here!
AM 1310 WIBA Up Front July 8, 2008
4:30 SEGMENT: Part 1 (6 minutes); Part 2 (5 minutes)
5:30 SEGMENT: Part 1 (7 minutes); Part 2 (4 minutes)
Act NOW:  Contact the FTA !!
Register your opinion with the Federal Transit Administration.  For ideas on why you think expanded bus service beats commuter rail try reading some of the Letters or Articles, or read Fact Sheet #1
Remember:  be civil, concise, and to the point.  Name calling and negativity will degrade your credibility!
Consider pointing out that the June 19, 2008 New Starts application for funding submitted by Transport 2020 had no mention of the clear presence of public opposition to the Dane County commuter rail project and new taxing authority (RTA)!

Email FTA administrators for our region
Federal Transit Administration Region V main page
MUST-READ ARTICLE

THIS SAYS IT ALL, and deserves a revival!
How INTERESTING !!
Check out this dusty OPINION piece from waay back!
We're On the Bus: Now Expand Service :: Wisconsin State Journal, January 15, 2003
SNIPPETS:
"make sure routes and service levels best match people's evolving travel patterns and needs" (can't much do that with rail!)
"switching to smaller, more fuel-efficient buses" (can't much do that with rail!)
"setting up bus routes to and from Madison's closest and largest suburbs opensup an untapped market and would spread Metro's budget over a larger tax baseand larger share of riders." (shocking evidence of WSJ advocating a free-market solution!)
 From the State Journal, 6/24/08: "Same old collectivist claptrap," by William Richardson

Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, County Board Chairman Scott McDonell and the "progressive " majority on the County Board advocate the "New Urbanism " of high density housing controlled not locally, but by the county.  [Go to article]

From the Isthmus, 6/26/08: "Let them eat commuter rail:
Local leaders draw the wrong conclusions from gas crunch," by Rick Berg

In "Normal Land," consumer rage over record-high fuel prices has 70% of Americans supporting calls to "Drill here, drill now."

However, in Madison, a community comfortably insulated from any reality known to working-class Americans, the soaring price of gasoline is being used to justify a $255 million commuter-rail boondoggle.  [Go to article]
6-19-08

Flood is Hurting Railroads

AP article reports standstill in both freight and passenger rail.  "The flooding has pretty much crippled our operations," said Ken Lucht of Wisconsin & Southern Railroad.  Read entire article here.
5-7-08

New Revelation About Train Costs- A report by Wendell Cox [Source]

"According to University of Paris researchers, the new (2007) Paris tramway (light rail or streetcar) along the south boulevards des Maréchaux has attracted, at most, 3 percent of its ridership from cars. This finding is made in a paper entitled Paris: un tramway nommé désir (Paris : A Streetcar Named Desire), published in August 2007 by Rémy Prud'homme, Martin Koenig, Pierre Kopp. The authors note that this small modal shift "once again shows the limits of modal shift strategies" (our liberal interpretation of the French).

While traffic along the boulevard has been reduced, this has been accomplished by narrowing the capacity and forcing traffic to parallel roadways. The result has been to increase traffic congestion and, as occurs when traffic becomes slower and more erratic, increase fuel consumption, which of course leads to higher greenhouse gas emissions. It is estimated the tramway has resulted in a net increase of nearly 40,000 tonnes of CO2 annually.

Finally, the social costs of the project are estimated to have exceeded the benefits."
4-15-08
Randal O'Toole releases new report: Rail Transit is NOT Environmentally Friendly!!

Read the report: Does Rail Transit Save Energy or Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions?

Listen to Randal with Vicki on UpFront 4/14/08: Clip #1 (5 min); Clip #2 (5 min)
4-12-08
New Calculations show alarming alternative to commuter rail!

For 90% of the $10.4 million/year operating costs for commuter rail, we could buy hybird cars for the projected train riders [that's 3,850 cars over 5 years!]]
and still have a million dollars left over each year. (Leasing would be even cheaper!)    

These cars could go anywhere, not just along a 13 mile track!  Although these responsible commuters might miss out on a three-mile walk* from the train station to their place of work...

*for more info on the three mile radius listen to Clip #2 from Eileen's UpFront interview.

4-10-08

Eileen Bruskewitz on AM-1310 WIBA's UpFront with Vicki McKenna Wednesday, April 9.

Clip #1:  Crime in Madison and surrounding communities; landlord rights (8 min.)
Clip #2: What is Cieslewicz's solution?  RTA, an "unelected, unaccountable taxation authority!" (5 min.)

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