WATERLOO, Wis. (WTAQ) - New concerns are being raised about the high-speed passenger rail line that will go from Milwaukee to Madison. It’s supposed to go right through Waterloo. But residents there say it will cut their community in two. And Fire Chief Vern Butzine wonders how the trains will affect fire and emergency medical services. The concerns were expressed to local leaders at a public hearing Wednesday night.
The new rail line would close 2 of the 9 existing rail crossings in Waterloo. There would be fencing, and perhaps sound barriers. The train is not scheduled stop at Waterloo. It will go at 79 miles an hour until the tracks can be upgraded – and then the speed would rise to 110. The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee has voted to accept $810 million in federal stimulus funds to start up the high-speed line. The state has not said how it would pay for maintenance costs – and for that reason, many Republicans still oppose the line. The trains plan to stop in Brookfield, Oconomowoc, and Watertown.