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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

High-speed train purchase first step in Madison-to-Milwaukee line

From an article by Mark Pitsch in The Capital Times:

In a first step toward building a Midwestern high-speed rail line connecting Madison with Chicago and the Twin Cities, Wisconsin is buying two passenger trains from a Spanish company that will hire state workers to assemble and maintain them.

The $47.5 million purchase is expected to create 80 jobs initially, and company officials said Friday they are considering assembling the trains at Janesville’s General Motors production plant, which closed in April idling 1,200 workers. Sites in Milwaukee are also under consideration.

Gov. Jim Doyle, local officials and transportation experts said the rail line would spur leisure travel to and from Madison and link the city, home to UW-Madison and its technology-related research, to the economies of Minneapolis-St. Paul and Chicago.

“It’s very exciting for our state, for the economic growth of our region,” said Teresa Adams, a UW-Madison engineering professor who runs the Midwest Regional University Transportation Center. “It’s certainly good for our economy. There are a lot of intellectual hubs to be connected.”

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