In 2010, Wisconsin got a federal grant to build a high-speed rail line between Madison and Milwaukee. Derailed is the story of how the rail project came together, how it fell apart and how Wisconsin changed along the way.
Introducing WPR Reports: Mapped Out
From the team that brought you "Derailed," subscribe to hear "Mapped Out," a new, six-part series debuting in September that will give the lowdown on Wisconsin's redistricting past and let listeners know what the next set of maps could mean. Subscribe at "WPR Reports" wherever you get your podcasts.
Because the story of "Derailed" happened over the course of decades, there's a lot there, and a lot we didn't get to. Some of it, like Gov. Jim Doyle's role in ending the train, is still discussed today. Other stuff, like the 2016 Olympics connection, seems to have been lost to history. Here are some of the questions we didn't get to in "Derailed.
Episode 6: Times Change
When former Gov. Tommy Thompson decided to return to politics in 2012, he was walking into a Wisconsin that was as divided as ever. The game had changed, and Thompson had to play by a new set of rules. That meant a new take on some of his old positions, including the train.
Episode 5: Going Nowhere
Before Gov. Scott Walker canceled the high-speed rail line that would have connected Madison to Milwaukee in 2010, Wisconsin bought two trains from a Spanish company named Talgo.
The story of these trains is messy. And in a way, they're the physical reminder of the debate Wisconsin had almost a decade ago.
Episode 4: The Fast Train
When Wisconsin rejected $810 million in federal stimulus money for high-speed rail, the money was redistributed to other states. California got the largest chunk to go toward a rail line connecting San Francisco and Los Angeles, a project that is still ongoing.
Episode 3: Boondoggle
In 2010, Democrats controlled everything, from the White House, to Congress, to the governor's office to the Wisconsin state Legislature. Republicans were pushing back, and the Tea Party was in full swing. But something was changing in American politics and in Wisconsin — and Scott Walker used the high-speed rail plan to seize the moment.
High Speed Trin
I enjoyed this podcast. But it’s pretty biased against the republicans in office during this high speed train issue. And that’s why none of them wanted to be interviewed for it I suppose.
About so much more than trains
I loved how this podcast addresses the larger context and all the complicated ways the economy, politics, public policy, etc played into this specific example of the high speed rail project. Very well done!
Excellent look back
Apolitical and informal retold cold case on a project that would have changed Wisconsin in so many ways. A deeply saddening tale exposing how austerity and small town-mindedness left Wisconsin opposed to change. Thank you