11.08.2010

The state of Derp

So, after declaring he's going to cancel the Milwaukee-Madison train, Walker asks the train manufacturing company to stay in the state.

Talk about having cake and eating it too.

First of all, cancelling the train is completely stupid. This is literally cutting off the nose to spite the face. If the Federal government doesn't spend the $800 million here, they're going to turn around and offer it somewhere else, New York to be precise. The governor of New York said they'd just love to build another train route.

Secondly, the article says if the entire yearly operational cost falls on Wisconsin, then it's $7 million per year. That's peanuts! It's a very weak argument for a state of nearly 6 million people. What's the big deal about everyone in the state having to pay a little more than $1 per year for a high speed train?

Thirdly, look at this! They build $100 million dollar bypasses around small cities in Wisconsin anyway. They recently built a $120 million bypass in my home area around Burlington. The mismatch between the size of the place and the size of the road is silly but then spending hundreds of millions to do it makes it simply absurd.

For that matter, a state commission has ok'd a proposal to expand I-90 to three lanes in each direction from Madison to the Illinois border for $715 million. Within two or three decades, China and Europe are going to have windmills, solar panels, and fast trains everywhere and the US is going to have a bunch of huge empty highways because gas will cost too much to drive anywhere and the slow-moving angry mob will be left wondering what went wrong.

Lastly, when I was at UW-Madison, they spoke of a 'brain drain', that is young people get degrees and leave the state instead of staying in Wisconsin and building an economy. Being as backward about the train as the state has been a big clue to larger trends and is a real big turn off. You have to do something to lure us in. For me personally, I want to live in a place that's forward thinking and embraces the future. Stuff as simple as trains or facilitating green energy options would definitely get me back to the state despite other things, like taxes or the climate.