Scott Walker was for high-speed rail before he was against it

Wait, is there a pattern here? πŸ˜‰ See Walker’s letter supporting light rail here.

All you who take a few minutes to read Brookfield City News will remember this post from a couple of weeks ago:

Hate the idea of a high-speed rail station in Brookfield?
Posted on July 28, 2010 by Cindy
Blame Governor Tommy Thompson. That’s what I determined after reading the Common Council packet from last week. (Look for yourself, page 9.)

Timeline – 1993 – 2013

1993 – Governor Thompson commits $50 million to build passenger rail between Milwaukee and Madison.

It’s not hard to figure out that Scott Walker as an Assembly member representing the 14th district voted for that appropriation, too. It was in the 1993 budget bill which created $50 million in bonding for high speed rail to extend rail service from Milwaukee to Madison or Milwaukee to Green Bay, railroad improvements relating to service between Milwaukee and Waukesha Counties or passenger rail improvements.

Here’s the roll call from 1993:

In 1997 Governor Tommy Thompson included no-bid provisions for rail service.

Walker voted in favor of that, too:

I guess the campaign kind of left all that off the website.

Gubernatorial Republican candidate Scott Walker swears he’ll stop that train. Believe him?


  1. Gurrrl. You are better than the JS.

    Interesting, veddy, veddy, interesting.

    You never know what that guy is flip on next. He will change his mind if he figures it will get him a vote or two.

  2. I am so going to need more love than that. I can only image the hate to come. Oy vey.

  3. John Sawyer says:

    Let’s see if I can remember all his flip-flops:

    Voted against Concealed Carry, now he’s for it.

    Said he voted against Concealed Carry because it was a late night vote, but he voted to allow late night votes.

    Dissed the Arizona immigration bill but then came out in support of it (this was the famous 24-hour flip)

    As County Exec, expanded the no smoking ban in public buildings, but now is against the no smoking ban (and Tonette works for the American Lung Association)

    He flip-flopped about 20 times on stimulus money.

    … it feels like I’m missing a bunch, any help?

  4. now neumann should run a light hearted parody ad…maybe reenacting walker’s anti-rail ad from last month.

  5. Cindy…You are incredible. Great work!

  6. Great find! Want me to straighten that image for you?

  7. No thanks. It’ll do.

    It’s not getting much attention anyway.

  8. Cindy,

    Let me join the chorus, great job!

    By the way, where does the $50 million in bonding mention “high speed” rail?

    If you did your homework more carefully, you would have discovered that the bill Walker voted for was a property tax relief package that limited the amount of revenue that schools could collect and spend.

  9. Aaron, that is funny stuff. So you are saying a vote is complicated and might include more than one issue.

    OMG! Call Scott Walker and tell him your little bitty teeny weeny discovery. Dude’s forked over a fortune in advertising lately making the claim the only issue in this race is that Mark Neumann and Nancy Pelosi voted the same way once.

    Oh, and call Congressman Sensenbrenner, too. Gosh, I bet he’ll be really happy to learn this important tidbit so many years into his career.

    That was fun. Come back soon. πŸ™‚

  10. Cindy,

    I understand the point you’re trying to make. And I also understand that when individuals get to a Congressional level, they take our money and play with it like they were playing Monopoly. $8 billion is just a number when we hear about it on the news, but the stuff adds up.

    Sure, there was probably a logical reason that Neumann voted for the bill, and yes, many other Republican followed suit. But you can’t run commercials saying that you are so conservative that you were kicked off an appropriations committee, especially when you voted for $8 billion in pork. Yes, it was one vote, and for all we know, it was the only time he veered of the path of purity. But when you vote for something that expensive, other logical reasons to vote for it don’t really matter that much.

  11. Um, actually Neumann can run those advertisements because it’s true – he was kicked of a committee for not giving into the party’s pork.

    So good of you to get my point, but you have much more backpedaling to do before Wednesday morning. You best start making a list.

  12. Not sure what you’re talking about, Cindy.

    Good night,

  13. Randy in Richmond says:

    According to news reports the main reason Neumann voted against the Defense Bill was that it did not include language that would restrict President Clinton’s ability to send troops to Bosnia, which was in a Neumann amendment to the bill, which the Republican’s pulled. Bob Livingston removed him from the Appropriation’s Defense Subcommittee because of this negative vote. Neumann did not lose his seat on the Appropriations Committee and as a compromise since the removing angered most of the Republican freshmen in the House, Neumann was also assigned to the Budget Committee.

  14. I think the claim has always been “an” appropriations committee, not “the” appropriations committee, Randy.

    Wouldn’t it make sense not to let Clinton have the final say if the goal at the time was a balanced budget?

  15. Randy in Richmond says:

    I am not being judgemental because I may have voted the same as Neumann. But truth is more important than perception. On his own site Neumann states ‘the’ Appropriation Committee.

    It’s a nit-picker–but not the first I’ve seen on this election.

    If I could cast a ballot in Wisconsin I would vote for Neumann over Walker. Having followed the discourse on this site and done a little background checking on my own, it appears Walker has mismanaged Milwaukee County on several levels. And interestingly, in it’s endorsement, the MJS touts Walker’s shortcomings as his strengths. Furloughing employees for multiple weeks is not management–especially when the person doing the furloughing is the person who presents the budget to the board (or whatever you call it ) to begin with.

    I also sense some long memories amongest the Republican establishment on this issue.

  16. I see. I was working from this:

    “Mark Neumann was one of the key leaders that were the difference between success and failure on the budget. Other Republican Congressmen rallied around Neumann when party leaders kicked him off a powerful subcommittee for questioning how we were going to pay for their pork.”

  17. Randy in Richmond says:

    You know, from reading the history of this it appears much of it was the incompetence of Bob Livingston. In the end Neumann gained a prized seat on the Budget Committee and the other Freshmen Republican Representatives looked to him for guidance while supporting him on his stand. Some might call that leadership.

  18. Randy,

    The only reason why Walker is furloughing county employees is because the union representing those employees refused to make benefit concessions. One way or another, the county budget must be balanced.

  19. Fine. Then Mr. Walker defender, explain the surplus from last year.

  20. Cindy,

    News reports said that a good chunk of the the surplus came from unexpected health care savings.

  21. And that surplus was applied towards…

  22. I think that by law the surplus for 2009 must be used toward the 2011 budget, just as the $4 million surplus of 2008 was applied toward 2010’s budget.

    What are you getting at, Cindy?

  23. The problem with the Walker budget is that he would’ve finished near $4MM in the red had it not been for $12MM in unexpected health savings – furlough days would have been much greater in 2009. I doubt he had much authority over where the surplus went though. And in some respects, he seems to have been a bit more accurate in budgeting than Barrett, who had a $23MM surplus on a slightly smaller budget!

  24. It goes to the general fund, which is built up year over year. But he still budgets on the prior year, pretending he didn’t take too much then.

    So how much is the county general fund now? What percentage of the budget? Brookfield is running about a third, which is absolutely absurd, but they’ll tell you it’s been approved by the council, because it has.

    After all, they know how to spend your money better than you.

    BTW, Aaron, this is where you step in and say it was the big bad county board’s fault, and not Scott Walker’s.

  25. Cindy, I think you need an attitude check.

    Predicting what I will say when the point is both relevant and factual is a rhetorical gimmick meant to taunt rather than to discuss. It’s no different than me saying, “Oh, and I suppose you will say next that Neumann is a successful business owner” after the criticism that he has no experience managing a government workforce.

    Are you willing to argue that Walker is still responsible for vetoes that are lawfully overturned by 2/3 of board?

  26. John Sawyer says:

    Aaron — you’re the 2nd worst at giving Walker credit for everything right in Milwaukee County and finding others to blame for everything that goes wrong in Milwaukee County. Walker is the worst at that game.

    A leader takes responsibility for everything — only politicians pick and choose like that. Under real leadership, Milwaukee County would not be one of the worst metro counties in the U.S.

  27. Karen Jeffries says:

    Wisconsin won the national competition to get high-speed rail stimulus money to spur development and link Midwestern cities. Forty states applied, but only Wisconsin got everything
    it asked for – over $810 million.

    But Scott Walker’s unfortunate campaign strategy is to appeal to emotional knee-jerk voters, and he has singled out the HSR project as a political symbol of what he calls “runaway government spending.”

    Some stretches of the current Madison-Milwaukee line are so old that freight trains can only move up to 10 mph. This federal cash will upgrade the line to double track with initial speeds of 79 mph and, by 2016, 110 mph. (California and Florida’s new HSR trains will top 220 mph and 150 mph respectively.)

    Scott Walker diminishes the line’s importance. In reality it’s the first leg in a huge network extending to the Twin Cities and Chicago and stations stretching from Kansas City to Cleveland.

    Tommy Thompson, the four-term Republican governor, first promoted high-speed rail here in 1996 (though in true party-line fashion he now steps aside from those efforts.) Jim Doyle rode on Spain’s new bullet trains and convinced Spanish trainbuilder Talgo to build them in Wisconsin.

    Scott Walker tells anyone who will listen that Milwaukeeans can get to Madison cheaper and faster by taking a car than by riding a train. Does Scott Walker just not get it or – more likely – is he talking down to his favorite audience hoping to stir anger he thinks will benefit his campaign?

    This is way beyond just Milwaukee-to-Madison – this is the first leg of an intercity project to connect the nation, and more people will use it in a year than will use the Madison and Green Bay airports combined.

    The state’s current subsidy for rail is tiny compared to roads, just $1.38 per Wisconsin resident on rail, compared to $360 per person on bridges, highways and roads. And this is a jobs initiative with thousands of state workers on this project, maybe 5,500 jobs at the peak of construction by 2012.

    Scott Walker says he “would like” for the state to be able to use the money for other transportation projects, except that would require a change of law by Congress, now committed to this national high-speed rail program.

    Wisconsin’s agreement with the federal government says that Wisconsin would have to pay back the $810 million if the state stops high-speed rail service even in the next 20 years – plus Wisconsin would end up paying perhaps $300 million extra to cancel the contracts, all without getting a penny of benefits.

    Even if Scott Walker would win and was successful in stopping construction of the line and Wisconsin’s money did return to the federal government (plus an estimated $80 million more for work already done), other more-visionary state governors would want it. In reading about Scott Walker’s campaign shenanigans, 25 of them have just applied to the federal government for help with 77 different projects. Those requests total over $8.5 billion, but with only $2.3 billion available, Wisconsin – as usual, a big “donor state” – again would get to pay for other states’ rail projects.