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.”