In a recent development there are now four locations that have been tapped by the state’s Department of Transportation as possible sites for the expansion of Amtrak rails into the area.
The four possible sites that could host rail lines and further multimodal capabilities include the Dane County Regional Airport, Yahara Station, Monona Terrace and an area near the Kohl Center, Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, said.
Verveer added only recently have city officials been alerted to the state’s interest in Madison sites besides the airport location, but that these other options could provide a much-needed benefit to area residents and travelers to the city.
“From my perspective, the closer we can get Amtrak to downtown and the campus, the better,” Verveer said. “I had been led to believe that Amtrak requirements would not allow for a station anywhere closer to the downtown than the Yahara station.”
This new development raises hopes for proponents of a station near the heart of the downtown. Advocates of the Yahara location near First Street and East Washington Avenue have cited the five miles between the Capitol and the airport as one of the main obstacles in providing a usable and attractive station for residents.
Campaign for Yahara Station co-chair Patrick McDonnell said he is excited to see more options available for the city, but that he maintains his preference for Yahara Station over the airport.
“It just doesn’t seem to have any of those multimodal and economic development potentials that any of the choices within the city would have,” McDonnell said.
In a previous interview with The Badger Herald, Janet Piraino, chief of staff to Mayor Dave Cieslewicz, said any location closer to the downtown would be favorable over the airport location in the Mayor’s mind, specifically citing the possibility of a Monona Terrace location as being the first choice of the mayor.
Ald. Bryon Eagon, District 8, said City Council will hear a modified resolution Tuesday detailing what the city wants to see in a station proposal, ultimately decided upon by the state.
“I think it will show that the city definitely has a stake in the location of the station and the benefits that could come along with it,” Eagon said.