Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Walker's Great Train Robbery: $823 Mil Here, $50 Mil There, Another $50 & $31.6 Mil...

From VOICES "You Can't Make This Crap Up" department, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has just cost Badger State taxpayers another small fortune.  Despite being given ample time and clear and concise advanced legal warning of consequences if the administration does not honor its contract with rail car maker Talgo, a court will likely rule in favor of Talgo over a cut-and-dry breach of contract and the State of Wisconsin will lose almost $50 million it has already spent on the project and have absolutely nothing to show for it except more egg on its face.

Some fiscal conservative, Walker is literally costing taxpayers many hundreds of millions of dollars and this isn't even half-way into his term as governor.  More after the jump.

The Walker administration is misleadingly claiming that Talgo has failed to and refuses to test the cars to see if they meet all state and federal standards.  The facts are that testing, per the contract itself, is the responsibility of the buyer -- in this case, the State of Wisconsin:
All parties acknowledge and accept that 49 CFR 238.111 provides that the Operator (or railroad, as the case may be) not the Contractor is responsible for performing a pre-revenue service acceptance testing plan. Contractor will diligently work with Department and such Operator to ensure that the Operator’s pre-revenue service acceptance testing plan is efficiently implemented.
The fiasco with Talgo is just another example of how Scott Walker and his administration misleads and hides behind misrepresentations that he somehow is a fiscal hawk -- the record proves he isn't.

In spring 2011, Walker rejected an $810 million federal grant that would have extended passenger rail from Milwaukee to Madison. The grant also would have upgraded the lines for commercial rail and would have upgraded the track and the system between Milwaukee and Chicago.  Walker thought that he might be able to keep some monies and use them for other purposes, but appropriately, the feds pulled funds -- a huge loss for Wisconsin citizens.

This caused the State of Wisconsin to pony up and ADDITIONAL $31.6 million which for needed improvements for Milwaukee-to-Chicago passenger rail service, most of the costs of which could have been paid by a federal high-speed rail grant that was rejected by Gov. Scott Walker.  Another huge loss to Wisconsin taxpayers.

Walker has already announced his intention to spend at least $50 million dollars in the next budget to subsidize the largest transportation holding company in the world -- WATCO, a firm that reports it does 70 percent of its business with the Koch brothers. Since the sale of convicted felon Bill Gardner's railroad, Wisconsin and Southern, appears to be fraudulent because Gardner broke his leases to operate on state-owned rail lines when he bundled record amounts of illegal monies for Scott Walker, laundering it through the railroad -- this appears to be a massive pay-for-play.

The examples reported here are just the fiscal deception and fraud related to railroads -- there are also scandals over his travel expenses, at LogistiCare and WEDC that are costing taxpayers many more millions of dollars.

Scott Walker is a deceiver and a fraud -- he is bustin' the Wisconsin budget, but as usual, don't expect the media to tell you what Scottie is really doin'.

We are talkin' almost $950 million in taxpayer losses in rail along -- truely this is the greatest train robbery in the world.

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