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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Milwaukee-Madison train service cost soars

From an article on Milwaukee Rising:

The capital cost of developing Milwaukee-Madison train service has soard 25% to 50% in just two years, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

The cost was estimated at $400 million when the 2007-09 budget was developed, according to the agency’s budget request.

“As with all other infrastructure projects, the estimated cost has increased significantly in the last two years due to high fuel and materials costs,” the department said. ”While the final cost will not be known until the final design and engineering are completed, the project cost is currently estimated at $500 – $600 million, including all design, engineering, capital infrastructure costs, and equipment costs.”

WisDOT is seeking $40 million in new bonding authority for the project, on top of the $82 million in authority it already has.

The good news, WisDOT said, is that there now is a federal funding program for intercity passenger rail service that could pay as much as 80% of project costs.

“Federal appropriation of funding and rule-making for the rail programs still need to occur,” the agency said in its 2009-11 budget request. ”The work done on the Madison – Milwaukee corridor so far and the bonding already authorized will place Wisconsin in a good position to receive a grant as soon as the process is established.”

There are good reasons to proceed with the project, WisDOT said.

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