QUOTE OF THE DAY. Milwaukee mayor and Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Tom Barrett understands the strings that come with Federal capital grants.
Recalling the construction of the interstate highway system, Barrett said, "I'm glad that the governors in the 1950s did not say 'no' to President Eisenhower because the federal government did not pay for snowplowing."
The Republican hopefuls, former Representative Mark Neumann and current Milwaukee county executive Scott Walker, don't want to spend money to run the trains, although they've not ruled out taking the $800 million to upgrade the Milwaukee to Madison segment of the future Chicago to Twin Cities fast line.

To put that $800 million in perspective, the upgrade to 110 mph running between Milwaukee and Chicago (probably K.K. Draw to Mayfair) will take $12 million. Repeal or amend some of the excessive safety regulations and that upgrade is much cheaper. On the other hand, to provide a full interchange between the Tri-State Tollway and Interstate 57 in the southern suburbs of Chicago, a subsidy to the trucking companies, will run $570 million, with relatively little increase in road speeds. The Chicago area received $300 million in stimulus money to improve a number of railroad junctions where freight trains interfere with commuter trains, an expenditure that probably has a much higher benefit-cost ratio.

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