Having campaigned on a platform of jobs, jobs, jobs, Wisconsin's Governor-elect Scott Walker has taken steps - even before he has been sworn in - that have driven a private manufacturing employer from the state, has eliminated 4,700 short term jobs, and cost hundreds of permanent jobs:
Talgo Inc. will shut down its Milwaukee train manufacturing operations in 2012, leaving only a maintenance base, because plans for a high-speed rail line between Milwaukee and Madison have been abandoned, the company announced Friday.
The Spanish-owned company acted after the federal government withdrew nearly all of the $810 million in stimulus funding for the rail project, which Governor-elect Scott Walker had vowed to kill. Talgo had hoped to land contracts to build two trains for that line.
"Oh, but stopping the train would save Wisconsin taxpayers $810 million!" you might think. Well, no.
Although Wisconsin's federal allocation would have covered all construction costs, Walker said he didn't want state taxpayers to pick up $7.5 million a year in operating costs, after subtracting fare revenue. Revised ridership and cost estimates could have reduced taxpayers' share by $2.8 million or more, and the state could have used federal aid to cover as much as 90% of the taxpayer share, as it does on the Milwaukee-to-Chicago leg.So all construction costs are paid for, and the ongoing operation (which in and of itself will employ 55 people) would likely cost about $750,000. Out of a state transportation budget of $2.7 billion, that represents a pretty negligible amount of money. Talgo just began manufacturing in Milwaukee in September, and was going to use the Milwaukee facility to manufacture trains for delivery across the country.
Walker's election promises were pretty clear:
I will develop strategies for creating 250,000 new jobs and 10,000 new businesses by 2015.But yesterday Walker clarified that he didn't want those kind of jobs:
"I don't just want jobs that are created in the short term based upon a government subsidy. I want jobs that are long term and sustainable.
Wisconsin residents, however, remain free to jump in Lieutenant Governor-elect Rebecca Kleefisch's "sweet teal 1999 minivan" to get to work. Because Talgo's jobs appear to be wanted in other places.