Governor-elect Terry Branstad isn’t ready to scrap plans to expand high speed rail service in the state, but says he’s worried about the cost. Two other Republican Governors elected last week vowed to fight similar projects proposed for their states. Scott Walker of Wisconsin and John Kasich of Ohio complain the new trains would be too expensive and too slow. Branstad says he understands their concerns.
“Well, I want to analyze the situation,” Branstad said. “I’m very concerned about the federal debt.” Public transportation advocates say if states like Ohio and Wisconsin reject high speed rail, it could stymie projects all across the Midwest. Branstad says he doesn’t want to rush to judgment.
“I want to carefully review and analyze the circumstances and I understand there are concerns about the huge cost of this and how cost effective it is and how much it would really be utilized,” Branstad said. The Federal Government in October awarded the Iowa Department of Transportation $230 million to improve Amtrack service between Chicago and Iowa City.
In Wisconsin, Governor-elect Walker has said he will ask Congress to allow him to use $810 million allocated for passenger trains on road and bridge repair instead.