Train car maker Talgo is suing the state of Wisconsin over alleged default of contract.
The Doyle Administration signed a deal with Talgo to make passenger train cars for the Milwaukee-to-Chicago Amtrak Hiawatha line. The state agreed to pay for a maintenance facility, but has not yet done so. The trainsets are sitting at Talgo's manufacturing building in Milwaukee. But Governor Scott Walker won't test the train cars, and has refused to pay almost five-million dollars to the company for its products. Talgo says the state forced Talgo to terminate the contract last week. Susan Crawford represents the firm. She says a Dane County judge has been asked to declare that the state is in default of its obligations.
"The bottom line is that Governor Walker has decided the state doesn't want trains," she says.
The Wisconsin transportation department has declined comment on the specifics of the lawsuit, but the agency says it took part in a formal mediation process with Talgo last week in a good faith effort to resolve disputes related to the delivery of completed trainsets. The DOT says it's disappointed that process was not successful.
The department claims Talgo has failed to complete or test the trainsets and asserts the trains don't meet basic federal standards, such as those required under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The department says it will defend against the lawsuit and continue to act in the best interests of Wisconsin taxpayers. Talgo says the state will lose the nearly 50 million dollars its already spent on the project.