Spotted at the Union: High speed rail politics


Valued Sconz commenter Paul Axel is eating a ranch-chicken wrap, drinking a diet raspberry snapple and telling Ald. Bryon Eagon why Madison needs a high speed rail station downtown. It appears he’s preaching to the choir, but he’s introduced some interesting points on how to frame the argument in favor of a downtown stop instead of one at the airport.

Eagon: “When you think about people coming from out of town, Chicago, Milwaukee –– the last place you want to go is Dane County Airport.”

Now the two candidates for a downtown station are Yahara Station, at First and East Washington, and Union Corners, which is also on East Washington.

The mayor supports both an airport stop and a downtown stop. However, Kathleen Falk favors the airport. According to Eagon, at first Mayor Dave was reluctant to support the downtown option for fear of starting a city-county squabble that would scare off the feds in control of the stimulus money. However, now that the contract is official the debate can begin.

Axel is very eager to get as much community collaboration on this project as possible. He wants to talk to Analiese Eicher, WISPIRG, even the College Republicans! Axel believes Republicans can be brought on board if supporters of the plan frame the rhetoric in terms of benefits to small towns and small businesses.

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6 Responses to “Spotted at the Union: High speed rail politics”

  1. Kevin Says:

    If you have a downtown stop, students coming from the Milwaukee area can use the train to get to and from school, which could result in a lot of ticket sales. that alone should be reason enough for a downtown stop

    • Anonymous Says:

      Neither First Street nor Union Corners is “downtown.” Students are still going to have to bus/cab it regardless of where the station is.

  2. Paul A. Says:

    For clarification: It was a chicken Caesar wrap. Not chicken ranch.

  3. Jim Says:

    I suppose everyone flying into the airport needs further transportation to their destination too, as would rail users. So there has to be something built in already to address that. But what else would be the advantage of the airport stop? I do think it might be more trouble to run it downtown, with the high volume of people and buildings, but those people and buildings are also why people would take rail to Madison in the first place.

  4. Paul A. Says:

    That’s a good point, Jim. I actually brought up the idea of running a tram or dedicated bus route from Yahara Station to the airport, something similar to the Blue Line that runs from O’Hare to downtown Chicago. As for the high volume of buildings and people, 1st and E. Washington is not exactly downtown. It’s about a five minute drive from the Capitol.

    But that intersection happens to lie on or near a large number of bus routes, something like 18 routes. Yahara could also act as a bus depot. Potentially, someone that had a meeting right off the capitol square could take the train in from Milwaukee or St. Paul, and hop on the 37 bus or whichever one they need to get where they’re going.

  5. Yahara Station « Bryon Eagon's Blog Says:

    […] The Sconz (I feel like I am doing my own ‘Brunch Links’ with this post) […]

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