Wisconsin Receives First Block of High-Speed Rail Funds
On Thursday the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) released nearly $80 million of the $8 billion allocated to fund high-speed rail. This is a historic milestone for the build-out of high-speed rail across America as it’s the first time the federal government has released any of the funds to the states. While Florida received the bulk of the funds in this issuance ($66,000,000), Wisconsin was far from left out receiving $5,700,000. The funds Wisconsin received are to conduct environmental assessments of planned stations on the Madison-Milwaukee extension. While the environmental assessments won’t put construction workers to work across the state, they are an integral part of getting the high-speed Hiawatha operating by 2013.
The areas that will be studied as they currently lack a station are Madison, Watertown, Oconomowoc, and Brookfield. Presumably there won’t be much studying of the Milwaukee Intermodal Station, as the station currently serves existing Hiawatha and Empire Builder trains. These funds will support the study of the recently announced downtown Madison Monona Terrace station. It’s not clear at this point if an assessment would be conducted of a Wauwatosa station.