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Wisconsin - KRM officially dead

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Devil's Advocate

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The new Republican-led Legislature has since approved GOP Governor Scott Walker's budget plan to cut transit aid by 10% next year, slicing nearly $7 million from Milwaukee County buses. At the same time, state Rep. Robin Vos (R-Rochester), the KRM's most powerful opponent, pushed through the measure to kill the RTA, leaving no one to fund or run the KRM.
No surprises here.
 

DET63

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Sounds like it may have been a prudent decision, at least if the following comment is factually based:

Chris Larsen
9:14pm on Monday, July 25, 2011

Thank goodness. The KRM was a underfunded boondoggle set up with an un-elected, unaccountable board with the power to tax, and was a bad idea from the start. Lets improve the rail system we have now to make it even better.
Link
 

Devil's Advocate

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Sounds like it may have been a prudent decision, at least if the following comment is factually based:

Chris Larsen
9:14pm on Monday, July 25, 2011

Thank goodness. The KRM was a underfunded boondoggle set up with an un-elected, unaccountable board with the power to tax, and was a bad idea from the start. Lets improve the rail system we have now to make it even better.
Link
Unless I'm mistaken the power to tax was bestowed by elected officials. The board would have been appointed by elected officials just like hundreds of other boards. Improving the rail system we have now to make it better with no appointed board members and no ability to tax is a rather confusing suggestion. Maybe Chris Larsen believes in Rick Perry's prayers and fairy dust solution to life's problems.
 
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Trogdor

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The word "boondoggle" is meaningless these days. It's used to describe any taxpayer-funded project you don't like.

The KRM line would have done decent enough. The last I heard (which was about 6-7 years ago), they were looking at running DMUs to Kenosha, or possibly even into Waukegan, to connect with Metra. A long time ago, the plan was to actually extend Metra up to Milwaukee, but that was dropped (I can't remember if they officially announced that they were dropping it, or if they just stopped talking about the extension) because the ridership wouldn't have justified the equipment needed (i.e. an extra diesel locomotive and 8-9 cars per trainset).

Current public transit between the counties is poor, with a Wisconsin Coach Lines (Coach USA) bus providing a handful of trips each day. Racine, in particular, was really looking forward to the service. Their bus transit center is at what would have been the station (an old CNW station that would have been restored). They may have even put a little money already into restoring it (don't know for sure about that one).

Overall, I think it would have done well, ridership-wise, provided that there could be decent transit connections at each end. Kenosha has the streetcar (which, honestly, is more of a toy than an actual transportation utility), and a bus transfer center a block from the existing station. Racine, as I noted, had their transit center right next to the station. Milwaukee's train station doesn't have great transit access (meaning service right to the station, instead of having to walk several blocks away), and ideally, that would change, to get people around downtown from the station.
 

Kramerica

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The KRM line would have done decent enough. The last I heard (which was about 6-7 years ago), they were looking at running DMUs to Kenosha, or possibly even into Waukegan, to connect with Metra. A long time ago, the plan was to actually extend Metra up to Milwaukee, but that was dropped (I can't remember if they officially announced that they were dropping it, or if they just stopped talking about the extension) because the ridership wouldn't have justified the equipment needed (i.e. an extra diesel locomotive and 8-9 cars per trainset).
My understanding was that there was some legal reason that Metra could not operate in Wisconsin, past the first station (i.e. Kenosha) But that seemed strange to me since the lawmakers can just change the laws to make it legal, if that's what they really wanted.

Overall, I think it would have done well, ridership-wise, provided that there could be decent transit connections at each end. Kenosha has the streetcar (which, honestly, is more of a toy than an actual transportation utility), and a bus transfer center a block from the existing station. Racine, as I noted, had their transit center right next to the station. Milwaukee's train station doesn't have great transit access (meaning service right to the station, instead of having to walk several blocks away), and ideally, that would change, to get people around downtown from the station.
Milwaukee looks like it is actually going forward with the Streetcar project, which will run right past the Amtrak Station and then past the bulk of the downtown hotels and residential units. So Milwaukee's transit access should be improving markedly.
 

Shawn Ryu

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The reason why Metra doesnt operate past Kenosha is most likely due to lack of demands.

Even trains to kenosha, its schedule is limited. As a lot of the trains terminate at Waukegan.
 

Trogdor

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The reason why Metra doesnt operate past Kenosha is most likely due to lack of demands.
Actually, it's because Metra is funded almost entirely by governments within the State of Illinois, and running past Kenosha would require Metra to be funded by the State of Wisconsin (or some other governmental body therein).

Doesn't matter how much demand there is. The service would still require subsidy, and that subsidy would have to come from somewhere outside of Illinois. That's what this entire thread is about.
 

MikefromCrete

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Metra is an agency of the Illinois state government and is funded by Illinois taxpayers though a sales tax in the six-county Northeastern Illinois RTA service area. The UP North LIne service terminates at Kenosha due to a long-standing operating practice of the former Chicago and North Western Railroad. It is unsure to me who actual funds train operations between the state line and Kenosha. It could be the UP eats the cost, maybe Wisconsin kicks in a little funding. But Metra does not operate outside the six-county RTA area. The South Shore Line trains are funded primarily by the Northwest Indiana Commuter Transportation District, but Metra kicks in some funding for Hegewisch passengers, since that station is in Illinois. If Wisconsin wants Metra to serve Racince, or head up to Milwaukee, it would have to fund the service. The KRM was a solution to that possibility, but Scott Walker and the other anti-transit politicians in Wisconsin aren't interested.
 
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bretton88

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Its funny, because this same budget includes 35 million to upgrade the Hiwathas.
 

AlanB

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Its funny, because this same budget includes 35 million to upgrade the Hiwathas.
Actually it's sad and shows one of the bigger problems about the entire project from Madison to Milwaukee. That being that far too many people thought that MAD to MKE was a stand alone train. Most did not realize that it was an extension of the current Hiawatha service.

It was one thing that the outgoing Governor never made enough effort to make clear to the public. Not saying that it would have killed all opposition, there are some who just say NO whenever anyone says "train." But many other's sitting on the fence might have come down on the yes side had this point been made clear.
 
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