John Kasich, the governor-elect of Ohio, declared “this train is dead” after being elected, and mocked the slow speeds the train was expected to travel
Ohio and Wisconsin’s loss of $1.2 billion in federal stimulus money for rail projects will be California, Florida and 10 other states’ gains, federal officials said on Thursday.
Ohio and Wisconsin were among the biggest winners of federal stimulus money this year to build new rail lines in their states; officials in both states had lobbied aggressively for the money in the hopes that it would create thousands of jobs and improve their transportation systems. But that all changed last month when both states elected Republican governors who vowed to kill the train projects, arguing that they were boondoggles that would leave their states on the hook for subsidies each year to operate the trains.
Now both states, which have been hit hard by the economic downturn, are losing the money. The federal Department of Transportation announced Thursday that it was taking back the $810 million that had been awarded to Wisconsin to build a train line from Milwaukee to Madison, and the $385 million that was awarded to Ohio to build a train line linking Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland. The money will be redistributed to 12 other states, with the biggest winners being California and Florida, which are building high-speed trains.
The other states that will get Ohio and Wisconsin’s money will be Washington, which will get up to $161 million; Illinois, which will get $42.3 million; and New York, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Oregon, North Carolina, Iowa, and Indiana, which will all get less than $10 million.
I’m pleased they’re reallocating the rail money, and I live in Ohio, and I wanted a train.
Elections have consequences, and the consequences should be swift and unambiguous.
I spoke to an honest Republican the other day. He knows I’m a Democrat. He drives a gravel truck. He leaned in and told me in a sort of conspiratorial, just-between-you-and-me manner that he would have been out of work the last two years without stimulus-funded road projects in this county and the three surrounding counties.
Go figure. You just look at these people in absolute wonder. What can they be thinking?