Transportation Secretary Says Walker Has Accomplished A Lot For Wisconsin Rail

Mark Gottlieb Says He's Proud During Address To Rail Passengers Association

Mark Gottlieb
Courtesy of WPT

The state transportation secretary says that he’s proud of what the Walker administration has done for passenger rail in Wisconsin.

Gov. Scott Walker’s record on passenger rail includes canceling plan for high-speed rail between Milwaukee and Madison before he was even sworn in. Transportation Secretary Mark Gottlieb, however, said the Wisconsin Department of Transportation is about to spend $20 million upgrading the Milwaukee Amtrak station, is working toward expanding Milwaukee-Chicago train service and is helping with a Minnesota study of a possible second daily Amtrak Empire Builder train between Chicago and the Twin Cities.

Over the weekend, Gottlieb defended the DOT’s record at a Milwaukee meeting of the Wisconsin Association of Railroad Passengers.

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“I’m here to tell you that I think we’re doing the best we can. We’re making significant investments. I think we’re proud of what we’re doing,” said Gottlieb.

WISARP member Laverne McCoy, however, said the Walker administration has been too accommodating to freight rail in the state, and has not done enough for passenger rail.

“It brings a hardship on citizens,” said McCoy. “We’re forced to buy cars (and) fly airplanes at costs that we can’t afford.”

WISARP President John Parkyn called the Walker record on passenger rail steady. But the La Crosse resident also said that a key test for the next four years will be going beyond studies and making service expansion a reality.

“I think the greatest immediate hope is that we will benefit by Minneapolis-St. Paul on one side of the state and Chicago on the other, and their need to get back and forth,” said Parkyn.

He said WISARP will make its views known to the winner of the next week’s election for governor.