Conservatively Speaking

State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.

URGENT NOTICE: Speak up about Wisconsin rail

News you can use

Rail continues to be a hot topic in Wisconsin.   You have until April 5, 2010, to inform the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) via 
this website about your desires for spending your tax dollars on rail.

One of the most controversial news items of the year thus far
occurred as the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee hastily approved spending $810 million of federal stimulus money for high speed rail between Milwaukee and Madison. The state will need an additional $7.6 million in operating expenses each year to cover the cost of the project. Bonding is being considered.

Specific figures about the cost of fares and ridership are unknown. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has reported that only 55 permanent jobs will be created.
Publicly, I have taken the position that the state should avoid the rush to rail. The cost of the Milwaukee-Madison high speed rail line is equivalent to two Miller Parks. Subsidizing this massive project will jeopardize current and future Wisconsin projects across the state that have been put on hold due to the state Transportation Fund deficit that is exacerbated by Governor Doyle’s numerous Transportation Fund raids. Service on the new rail line could begin during January, 2013. Most of the feedback I am receiving about the rail line is negative.

The DOT website explains the department “is developing a statewide rail plan that will provide a vision for freight rail, intercity passenger rail and commuter rail over the next 20 years. The DOT wants public input about the future of rail and has developed a 15-part online questionnaire.  The DOT claims: “We will use the results to help define the future direction of freight, passenger, and commuter rail in Wisconsin.”  I filled out the online survey, and I strongly urge residents to take this survey and provide specific concerns and direction to DOT.

You will be asked to indicate the following:   

  • Your level of support for public investment in rail and rail service in Wisconsin.
  • The most important Passenger Rail ISSUES that WisDOT should consider through 2030.
  • The most important Passenger Rail NEEDS facing Wisconsin through 2030.
  • The most POSITIVE ASPECTS of Passenger Rail transportation in Wisconsin.
  • The biggest CONCERNS with Passenger Rail transportation in Wisconsin
  • The Freight Rail NEEDS facing Wisconsin that should get the most attention through 2030.
  • The most important Freight Rail ISSUES that WisDOT should consider through 2030.
  • The most POSITIVE ASPECTS of Freight Rail transportation in Wisconsin.
  • The biggest CONCERNS with Freight Rail transportation in Wisconsin.
  • The most important Commuter Rail ISSUES that WisDOT should consider through 2030.
  • Any additional feedback you have regarding rail transportation in Wisconsin through 2030.

Options are included for each question along with a separate box to write additional information.   The boxes allowing additional information allowed me to write in the words, stop spending money on commuter and passenger rail. 

Do not delay. The online questionnaire must be submitted by April 5, 2010. The survey is available here.

Rail is the primary focus of this questionnaire.  You may want to also submit views to the DOT about other issues including raiding of transportation funds for non-transportation expenditures, roundabouts, and ramp meters.



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