This train is not aimed at carrying people between Milwaukee and Madison (although it will if somebody wants to take it). This train is mainly intended to take people from Madison to Chicago and back.There's one person who gets it.
There simply is no good way of making a 1-day trip from Madison to downtown Chicago and back. Driving I-90 to the loop can take 4 hours each way, and flying there takes about as long (when you include the TSA time and the hour or more it takes to take a taxi in from O'Hare).
The train (if Walker allows it to go forward) will take under 3 hours Madison-Chicago. While that doesn't seem like much of a difference, just an hour at most, there is a huge quality difference between train time and driving time. Time behind the wheel in Chicago traffic is unpleasant, stressful and tiring. Time on a train is comfortable, relaxing and productive.
Which reminds me: The other day when Jack Craver correctly criticized the Republican propagandist Wisconsin Policy Research Institute for its disingenuous portrayal of the Milwaukee-Madison leg of this enormous, nationwide rail project as merely a discrete alternative to taking the bus, a WPRI "senior fellow" turned up to mock Craver's emphasizing the overall plan as an "ancillary issue."
Read the comments. WPRI is an unintentional comedy machine.
If only its effluents could power the locomotives.
And, the same author whose commentary is indented above debunks comparisons between Wisconsin governor-elect Scott Walker's heroics and those of the NJ Tea Party poster boy Chris Christie:
The Wisconsin project's capital expenses are 100% federally funded while the ARC tunnel was only 30% federally funded ...
Because NJ had committed $2.7 billion for the ARC tunnel, even after paying $300 million in cancellation costs, NJ still has $2.4 billion it can now use for highways. By contrast Wisconsin will walk away from the project with a new debt of up to $100 million.
Moreover, Wisconsin is a donor State and Walker's refusing nearly $1bn in federal investment will do little to improve that balance.