Dear Governor-Elect Scott Walker:
When I first heard about the proposed rail line between Milwaukee and Madison, I was pretty excited. As a Madison native who also has ties to Milwaukee, I knew that I would frequent the train several times a year as a passenger. I could visit friends, go to a few Brewers' or Bucks' games, take my son to various museums and events, and maybe even enroll in a once-a-week class through my Alma Matter, UW-Milwaukee.
My trips to Wisconsin's largest city would no longer be constrained by time restraints -- it would be as easy as hopping on a train and getting there without the hassle of preparing for a semi-lengthy car trip (no gas to purchase, no lunches to pack, etc.). I also learned the project might eventually tie Milwaukee and Madison up to the Twin Cities area, making it easier to visit family I have there as well (no more six hour mind-numbing car rides -- my family and I could relax on the train, read a book, and have very little to worry about).
As I looked beyond the impact that the rail line would have on my life, I began to realize that this project was more than a convenience for myself but also an investment in Wisconsin. The federal government established this project because it felt Wisconsin could capitalize from it -- jobs to create the rail line would number in the thousands, revenue from those jobs would be injected into the state, and commercial interests would develop around the rail, especially at the various stops the train might have made.
It was a shock to me when I read about how Gov. Doyle had ceased work on the project, citing his soon-to-be-replacement governor's insistence that it be canceled. I further read how you wish the money could be spent elsewhere, on Wisconsin's crumbling roads, and how the dollar amount for other projects the state was facing would number in the billions.
While I agree with you that our infrastructure needs require attention from all levels of government, passing up this opportunity would be a grave mistake. The project is going to happen, but whether it happens in Wisconsin or not is up to you and your incoming Republican legislature.
The future of our state is in your hands, Mr. Walker; and while I didn't vote for you myself, I am pleading with you, as my new governor, to make the right choice. Don't let thousands of jobs and potentially millions of dollars in revenue leave our state, go south of the border to Illinois or elsewhere in our country.
I don't view you as a villain, Mr. Walker -- I believe that you truly care about Wisconsin, and though we may disagree on some issues, I know your heart is in the right place. Thank you for your consideration, and may you make your decision with clarity and rational judgment.