Search This Blog

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Money disappears for Intermodal train shed work

From an article by Marie Rohde in The Daily Reporter:

No money is available to build a train shed at the Milwaukee Intermodal Station even though the project is required to meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards.

The money for the station improvements had been included as part of the $810 million Milwaukee-to-Madison high-speed rail project that was rescinded by the federal government last week in light of opposition by Gov.-elect Scott Walker.

The Intermodal Station project was to construct a storage and maintenance building for new trains that run between Chicago and Milwaukee. It also included construction of platforms and an ADA-compliant connection to the station.

Steve Kulm, a spokesman for Amtrak in Chicago, said Amtrak has spent more than $109 million to bring some 200 stations around the U.S. into compliance and is working to bring all the nation’s train stations into compliance. However, he said, he does not know if money for the Milwaukee project is available.

“Where the money might come from, I don’t know,” Kulm said. “I can’t say that we’ve identified a funding source.”

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation project was supposed to begin in the spring.

“There are no other sources of funding for the project,” said Peg Schmitt, a WisDOT spokeswoman. “In terms of what we do next, I don’t know.”

Despite the lack of money, the state could be forced to come up with $18 million to complete the project if a lawsuit is threatened. The ADA requires public places be accessible to those with disabilities.

Diana Sullivan, disability rights and access specialist with Milwaukee-based Independence First Inc., said her organization will meet this week to discuss whether to file a complaint if the state project is not completed. Independence First, a nonprofit advocacy agency, has successfully used the federal law to improve accessibility elsewhere.

“We were up in arms over the Riverwalk and Summerfest,” Sullivan said. “We talked to the U.S. Attorney and reached a settlement.”

The Intermodal Station in Milwaukee could face the same type of action, she said.

No comments:

Post a Comment