Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (or as Charles P. Pierce refers to him - "the goggle-eyed homunculus hired by Koch Industries to manage their Midwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Wisconsin") back in 2010 refused $810 million in federal money to upgrade Madison-Milwaukee-Chicago passenger train service, calling it a boondoggle. Never mind the jobs it would have created or all the other benefits; never mind the industry it would have brought to the state; never mind that our country's rail system is crying out for investment. Walker joined other Republican governors in refusing to invest in passenger rail in their states.

      Well, seems like Walker's crusade to save money just keeps getting more expensive. Hotline #836 from the National Association of Railroad Passengers reports Talgo has filed a $65.9 million dollar claim against the state. As Hotline #836 notes:

Wisconsin had been awarded $810 million to extend passenger rail service from Milwaukee to Madison, with an eventual goal of extending west to Minneapolis. The state contracted with Talgo to provide two additional train sets.  As part of that deal, Talgo agreed to invest millions in setting up a manufacturing plant in Milwaukee and a permanent, in-state maintenance base.

When Walker killed the train, the federal money was redistributed to other states, the maintenance base was abandoned, and the plans for the manufacturing plant greatly reduced.  In all, hundreds of construction and manufacturing jobs were lost.

Talgo Inc.’s $65.9 million claim breaks down to $23.5 million in lost business, $18.6 million in unpaid invoices (plus interest), $10.5 million in damages stemming from state officials "continually defaming" the company’s reputation, and $9.8 million in foregone maintenance work.  Wisconsin has already paid $40 million to Talgo.  Regardless of whether or not the state pays, it will not take ownership of the train sets because it breached the purchasing contract by refusing to accept delivery when Talgo informed the WI DOT the trains were completed, per the their contractual agreement.
emphasis added

When Paul Krugman talks about The Mutilated Economy, Walker is one of the leading slack-jawed morons standing there with a goofy grin on his face, holding a knife still dripping blood…

p.s. One More Thing from Hotline #836: In an added wrinkle, the manufacturing company is claiming that the state must immediately repay $70 million to the bond holders it borrowed from to finance the trains it never took possession of.  Wisconsin had planned to pay the sum back, but over the course of many years.

Originally posted to xaxnar on Fri Nov 08, 2013 at 06:54 PM PST.

Also republished by Badger State Progressive.

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