Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Walker's $100 Million Boondoggle & Jobs Killing Plan

Yesterday Governor Doyle laid out the hard numbers for what it will cost the State of Wisconsin to follow Scott Walker's blindly dogmatic position on high speed rail. Not only will the state be handing New York or some other state the $823 million but it will actually cost Wisconsin nearly $100 million. Those costs include the following:

  • $14.25 million in costs that have already been incurred

  • $19.4 million for Milwaukee Intermodal Station platform renovations and ADA and safety compliance

  • $12 million for Milwaukee Airport Station platform extension and other improvements $52 million for a permanent maintenance facility for Hiawatha train sets

  • In addition to these costs the Wisconsin Department of Transportation factsheet lists $32.9 million in already executed contracts related to the Madison and Watertown station agreements. So at the very least Walker's blind ideology will cost the state $100 million. I'm calling it "Walker's $100 million boondoggle".

    Walker's phony reason for opposing rail is that he doesn't want the state to commit to long term operational costs for the project. As is his practice, Walker uses an overinflated number for those costs saying that they would come in at $7.5 million a year. Others have more reasonably projected those costs at closer to $750,000 due to ongoing federal aid. So this brings us to an interesting point that Blogging Blue has already made. Walker says that the cost of operations are his reason for being against the project but the $100 million that he is putting us on the hook for pays for 133 years of those payments. Even if we use Walker's inaccurate and overly inflated number the $100 million that he is forcing us to spend pays for over 13 years of operational costs.

    The new data from DOT not only shows us that Walker is prepared to charge taxpayers $100 million for getting next to nothing, but that he is also purposefully killing thousands of jobs in the process. Here is the breakdown of those jobs (which does not include the hundreds of permanent Talgo jobs that are now at risk):

  • 412 immediate consultant jobs (of which up to 300 workers may have already started but are now laid-off)

  • 10 state employee layoffs (although we know that Walker doesn't value state employees)

  • 272 construction jobs

  • 60 jobs for engineering and rail design

  • Not to mention the unknown amount of jobs that suppliers of the project would create because of it.

  • A projected high point (in the 3rd year) of 5,535 future jobs

  • It is clear that Scott Walker is determined to force taxpayers to pay $100 million for next to nothing, to cost us hundreds of current jobs/thousands of potential jobs, and to make Wisconsin an island in an otherwise increasingly connected Midwest.

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