Mayor Ponto issued the following press release today. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation presentation to the Brookfield Common Council on the proposed high speed rail depot at Brookfield Junction has been postponed. No new date has been set. Read through the memo, then please read my comments at the end.
To: The Alderman
FROM: Mayor Steven V. Ponto
Date: September 24, 2010
RE: The Midwest Regional Rail Initiative (intercity passenger rail) and a potential Brookfield passenger rail station
I met yesterday afternoon with Wisconsin Administration Secretary Dan Schoof and Wisconsin Department of Transportation High Speed Passenger Rail Program Chief John Oimoen to discuss a potential Brookfield passenger rail station. Also present on behalf of the City of Brookfield were: Robert Scott, Director of Finance; Dan Ertl, Director of Community Development; and Alderman Mark Nelson, Common Council President.
Consistent with all our dealings with the State government, the discussion was very professional and frank. The State Administration is still working on its final proposal to Brookfield. I do not expect it will be available for our October 5" meeting. As of now, we have nothing to act on.
I do not intend to place this matter on the Common Council agenda prior to the November 2nd election. [emphasis added] With the election date this close and the stark differences between the gubernatorial candidates on the issue of high speed rail, I believe the Council should know the outcome of the November 2nd election prior to deliberating on this matter. I am also mindful that the State policy makers will change in January based on the election.
My position on this matter is the same as it was during my campaign for Mayor earlier this year. I am opposed to spending any City of Brookfield tax dollars to build the station, the platforms or the parking lot. This is consistent with the position taken by the Common Council last December when it unanimously adopted the 2035 Comprehensive Plan. Additionally, the other concerns stated in my Memorandum to the Aldermen dated September 17, 2010 continue.
Should you have any questions about this matter, please contact me
So, here's my take.
The appointed staff like the Secretary of Transportation, Director of Administration, etc. know they'll be out of a job next January no matter who wins the election. Every governor wants his own team. I'm sure the resumes are already in the mail.
The professional staff is starting to wonder if the whole deal is falling apart, especially the local stations. Why pour your heart and soul into a walking dead project? So, they'll just go through the motions with this plan, that estimate, another presentation etc. until the clock runs out in November. Then life moves on.
At this time, I have taken no stance on the proposal. I like to make decisions based on the best information available and every time I turn around the details for the station's size, features and cost have changed. How many times have you heard someone talk about the city council and say something like:
- "They had their minds made up before the meeting started!"
- "The whole thing was fixed."
- "They didn't listen to us at the meeting. They must be deaf."
So, while I welcome your opinions on the topic and I've had dozens of emails and phone calls on both sides of the issue, I have chosen to remain silent until I know what I'm voting on. And I'm not holding my breath either.