August 4, 2009

Vos: Taxpayers scammed by Doyle's train deal

In a party-line, 11-4 vote Tuesday, the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee -- which has three Racine lawmakers on it, Republican Robin Vos and Democrats Cory Mason and John Lehman -- approved Gov. Jim Doyle's no-bid $48 million purchase of two trains from Spain to be used on Amtrak's Hiawatha line.

Vos, R-Racine, objected strenuously to the purchase and released the following statement:
Wisconsin taxpayers are $48 million further in debt today because of the approval of a bonding request made by Governor Doyle for new high speed rail passenger cars. Rep. Robin Vos (R-Caledonia) says taxpayers should be outraged that no bids were accepted and the job was automatically given to Spanish manufacturer, Talgo, after Doyle returned from a recent trade mission there.

“If this isn’t the definition of a sweetheart deal, I don’t know what is,” said Vos. “The Governor shouldn’t be able to simply enter into contracts with whomever he pleases just because he is on a Spanish-funded trip.”

On a party line vote, the Joint Finance Committee approved $48 million in bonding requested by Doyle in May to purchase two passenger rail car train sets to be used between Milwaukee and Chicago, and potentially for high speed rail between Milwaukee and Madison. If the plan is fully implemented, total capital costs may reach $600 million. “If Governor Doyle has no problem entering into a no-bid agreement for $48 million, how can we trust him to spend the additional $550 million wisely?” asked Vos.

“Given the fiscally reckless way in which Doyle crafted his most recent budget, I have little faith he will think of the taxpayers when it comes to this rail project.”

Doyle’s administration has made the claim that this deal was struck in part because it would bring 80 jobs to Wisconsin via a new manufacturing facility. However, during the course of the Joint Finance hearing, Department of Transportation officials admitted Wisconsin was only one of many states Talgo is currently considering and that no official determination has been made.

“The message sent by Governor Doyle today is that transparency and the pocketbooks of Wisconsin taxpayers clearly do not matter,” Vos noted. “This rail deal is a sham that might have had a smaller price tag had the Governor acted openly and fairly. Unfortunately, now we will never know.”


  1. Robin forgot to mention that there is a company in Wisconsin that manufactures railcars for Metra and other railroads that is struggling and didn't even get a chance to BID on this contract. It should be interesting to follow the money trail and see why Doyle picked this company.

  2. Pete, here you go again. Trying to mislead your readers. "it was approved in a party-line vote. Then you say it was approved by Vos, Lehmann, Mason. I have a hard time thinking Vos approved this sham by not only the Governor, but by Mason and Lehmann. The same people that raised our taxes.

  3. We sure love our no bid contracts.
    Be it The State or RCEDC the room for fraud and smoke filled rooms deals.
    I am shocked I tell you shocked that the Post would not see how/why this might be a bad deal.

  4. Am I the only person that think Cory Mason and John Lehman need to go? These two bozo's raised our taxes with a budget that was executed behind closed doors and now they allow the purchase of a 48 million dollar train from Spain! When will it stop? John and Cory save youeselves and your families the embarassment of running for the next term and step down NOW!! YOU HAVE TO GO!!!!!!

  5. At every turn, the Governor snubs his hose at the taxpayers of Wisconsin. We have the rush to approve a NO BID train purchase, but more importantly with NO TRACK to run the choo-choo on.

    I do not see anywhere the other side of the story where the Milwaukee manufacturer of train cars - Super Steel - is so upset with the lack of an RFP that it's partner - Nippon Sharyo - may suspend Milwaukee operations along with it's 175 full time employees.

    Let me get the math right - commit $47.5 million for trains that have no tracks to run on , financed by 20 year bonds and gain perhaps 80 part time jobs while we lose 175 full time jobs.

    Thanks Governor!

  6. Doyle, Mason, Lehmann, and Turner need to go.First tax increases now a no bid multi million dollar deal over seas. Apparently they do not know the U.S. is having economic issues, especially Wisconsin with the loss of auto related jobs. They all should be ashaned of themselves. I hope Jimbo enjoyed his boodogle to Spain. Hopefully next time it will be on his own dime as it was on my own dime when I went.

  7. The only way to fix this ongoing tax and spend problem is to encourage every conservative (whether Republican, Independent, or otherwise) to get out and vote. The time for apapthy is over. If conservatives don't put an end to liberal politics they will eventually lose their right to vote as the liberal/socialist/fascits America/liberty haters continue to erode our constitution and eventually take that right away from us, along with everything else.

    Do you know where the term "Nazi" came from? It is an acronym from the German spelling of National Socialism. Wake up America! The Fourth Reich is here. It is Obama and his brownshirt ACORN organization. Will you wait until it is too late? Will you wait until Doyle, Lehman, Mason, Obama and the rest of the national socialists strip you of everything before you act?

    If you think I'm kidding, just wait for all of the comments you are going to see about this statement from the fascist liberals that frequent this blog. You are about to see their real colors.

  8. StopthemadnessNOW8/05/2009 9:50 AM

    Settle down, everybody!

    This is just Rep. Vos doing what he does best - posturing and creating sound bites for talk radio.

    So, let's throw down the gauntlet. If the GOP, etc. worked even half as hard at developing and selling fresh ideas as it does whining, griping and finger pointing, their saviors (Vos, Scott Walker, etc.) would be in charge in Madison as we speak. Heck, Mac would even be in the State Senate!

    But, as we all know, that's not the case because these folks would rather complain (and attempt to advance the same, old tired narrow ideology) than attempt to develop solid, long-term public policy.

  9. DING! DING!

    We have a Godwin's Law, Nazi reference, winner already, much earlier than usual.

    I'm not sure what that says about the level of discussion -- but I don't think it's positive.

  10. Vos has a good point that this should not have been a no-bid decision. It is not good, open government.

  11. Anon 9:50 AM - it's nice to see that you support your bozo's to do business outside of the state/country under a no bid situation. That sounds like great government to me - NOT.

  12. DING! DING!

    We have already seen constant application of Alinsky's Rules for Radicals applied by our current President, Governor and by certain posts on certain websites.

    I'm not sure what it says about the strength and veracity of their actual arguments - - but it's probably not too positive.

  13. 8:18-

    You forgot to mention that Doyle was in Spain at a time when Louisiana was negotiating the transfer of 280 jobs at Thompson Industries from Sheboygan.

  14. These politicians are need to be put in jail for their crimes against Wisconsin and its citizens.

    Thank you Vos for speaking out against this worse than hair brained plan that won't even benefit a Wisconsin business.

  15. Truly stunning.

    Poster Stop the madness now, actually manages to blame Vos when Mason and Turner approve a massive no bid deal.

    You should be proud of yourself.

    And for the record, when the majority completely ignores the minority you don't get to do the whole no ideas thing.

    It never ceases to amaze me how the left completely ignores the bad behavior of their own.

    Pete, way to pick on Vos as usual. You might think that when two local politicians vote to approve spending this much money without a bid that they might make the headline.

    That will never happen when the author is a cheerleader for that side though.

  16. It will be interesting to see what these guys could do, to get Pete upset enough to write an honest story about.

  17. What is very interesting is the idea that keeps floating around is another on line (right of center) news blog to counter The Post/ J-T.
    I think they are waiting to get a few more business commitments so they can pay a few reporters for freelance work.
    The more and more harder it is to tell The Post from the J-T and Pete' habit of interjection in comments as he does the more likely the trigger gets pulled on the project.
    I think (and I think The Post would agree) the more forums we have to express our ideas the better off we are.

  18. Anon, 3:33 wrote: "Poster Stop the madness now, actually manages to blame Vos when Mason and Turner approve a massive no bid deal."

    Fact is: Turner is not on Joint Finance; only Mason and Lehman from Racine. My lede purposely was somewhat vague, since at the time I was not sure both Mason and Lehman had voted for the train contract (there are 12 Democrats on the committee, but the vote was 11 - 4.)

    I've now confirmed that both did vote aye. Vos, of course, as the story makes as plain as day, voted against.

  19. I feel I own an apology to Pete here. He has every right to post on his own blog in response to other postings.

    My bad

  20. This isn't a Dem or GOP issue folks. This is about good or bad government. Like him or not, Robin is right on this one. It stinks of closed door politics and sweetheart deals for everyone but the taxpayer.

    It seems that this is the way both Madison and Washington are operating right now and it isn't the change we voted for folks.
    I hope everyone looks hard at their candidates records in 2010 not their party affiliation.

  21. Anon 6:18, liberals don't vote issues, ethics, right or wrong, good or bad, they vote for liberals regardless of what they stand for. They vote for the liberal-facsist-socialist agenda, period. They want power and everyone in America to be dependent on government. They all want the Clinton-Bush-Obama one world government plan to succeed. They want the United Socialist States of America, the USSA. NAFTA was the beginning, Bush's "bailouts" was the next step, Obama's "stimulus package" and "cap and trade" are the next step to break business and the middle class. Watch what happens, if Obama makes it to the next election and the socialist wins again, watch for the introduction of the North American Economic Union to be pushed on us.

  22. The next scam is that team Obama is no longer going to discuss "health CARE reform," they are going to change it to "health INSURANCE reform." But there is no dicernable difference between the language of the two.

  23. Yes, I know they must have watched "Sicko" So they have all these house wives who are all form health insurance reform.

    I agree though it is same crummy program different label.

    I am not buying this half-arsed plan. Fix it and then sell it to me. Let me clarify fix it, get real MDs who actually treat instead of prescribe. Get Rx companies under control. The mark ups are out of this world. That is a start.

  24. So what I want to know is, can this ruling or decision be overturned? Can Wisconsin citizens have the last say? Or are we stuck paying for this weasel's slippery train deal?