From Wisconsin Association of Railroad Passengers
(WisARP), newsletter for July/August 2005:
There really is nothing new to report in Wisconsin, especially from a newsletter that is a couple of months behind schedule. So here are the items mentioned in the newsletter in a nutshell:
- The EMPIRE BUILDER has drawn plenty of celebrations along its route. Last year many online cities honored the train on its 75th anniversary. In 2005, rallies were held to show the Bush Administration that the train needs continued funding. And also this year, the train was relaunched as a premier train with refurbished equipment and some new amenities.
- Ridership continues to increase on Amtrak's Hiawatha Corridor service. In May of this year, ridership was up 18% over the same month in 2004. If trends continue, annual ridership on this train will hit a record 500,000 passengers. Much of the line's recent success can be attributed to the new Milwaukee Airport Rail Station.
- Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle is including in his multiyear budget $800,000 in funding for costs associated with final engineering for the 33-mile METRA extension from Kenosha to Racine and Milwaukee. The Governor is also establishing a Regional Transit Authority that will coordinate transit in the above three cities with the newly extended commuter rail service.
- Governor Doyle also is providing more funding for the Hiawatha Corridor service. Some of this is to offset budget reductions made by neighboring Illinois.