Terminus or Through-Route for Madison's Downtown Station?

Madison Rail Connections Map

» Though Governor Doyle has selected a downtown station for the Milwaukee-Madison rail line, proponents of other alternatives suggest there’s a better way.

In the gospel of intercity rail planning, the need to locate stations downtown is one of the commandments. Unlike airplanes, trains can get you right to the center-city. That kind of direct service encourages transit-oriented development and the creation of dense neighborhoods.

Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle (D) announced earlier this month that he would locate the terminus of the state’s new east-west intercity rail line just two blocks from the capitol and just adjacent to Madison’s central business district. The 85-mile line will connect Milwaukee with Madison in 75 minutes by 2013 thanks to an $823 million grant from the federal government and a commitment to purchasing several new Talgo trainsets from the state government.

At first glance, the selection of the downtown site,

Continue reading Terminus or Through-Route for Madison’s Downtown Station? »

Wisconsin Moves Ahead with Train Purchase Deal, Intent on Connecting Madison with Milwaukee

» Talgo will establish train manufacturing plant in Milwaukee. But state Republicans suggest they’ll oppose rail expansion if it gets in the way of highway spending.

Despite being a marginal player in the world high-speed rail market, Spanish train manufacturer Talgo is hoping to make a big push for orders in  North America. Thanks to a deal it signed with Wisconsin last year, it’s well on its way: The company has agreed to locate a new U.S. plant in Milwaukee, with plans to deliver 125 mph trains to the state for service to Madison by 2013.

If state Republicans gain power, however, the state’s rail efforts could be short-lived.

Under the leadership of outgoing Democratic Governor Jim Doyle, the Badger State has been one of the country’s leaders in developing improved rail service. The Governor announced last March that he would move forward

Continue reading Wisconsin Moves Ahead with Train Purchase Deal, Intent on Connecting Madison with Milwaukee »

Madison Gets New Transit Authority

» But how long will it take for it to start building new lines?

After several years spent conducting an alternatives analysis for a new transit project but failing to establish a revenue source, Dane County, Wisconsin agreed to establish a Regional Transit Authority last week that would hold the powers of taxation and eminent domain. The new RTA is chartered with the goal of improving transit and potentially building a commuter rail line between Madison’s center city and the northeastern and southwestern suburbs. Its leaders, however, will first put a regional 1/2¢ sales tax up for a vote next fall — an optional move that is designed to build community support for the local transportation project.

Madison, a university town and the state capital, has a relatively compact downtown core situated on a half mile-wide isthmus between Lake Mendota to the north and Lake Monona to the south. Continue reading Madison Gets New Transit Authority »

The Site / The Fight

by Yonah Freemark

yfreemark (at) thetransportpolitic (dot) com

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