The University of Wisconsin has the largest population of students in the state, The fact that Amtrak doesn’t have a station on campus is ridiculous. Guess who’s behind it. Our good old buddy Gov. Scott Walker.
For those who don’t know, Amtrak is a public rail system that runs across the nation and prides itself on providing a high quality, safe and punctual transportation system. Apparently, it’s also supposed to be greener than both automobile and air travel. It sounds like a pretty neat setup.
What’s not so neat is the fact that Amtrak’s route through Wisconsin runs up from Chicago into Milwaukee and then bee-lines northwest to the Twin Cities. The nearest stop to Madison and the UW campus is about 40 minutes away in Columbus, Wisconsin. Columbus — the city that never sleeps, and a bustling metropolis home to almost a whopping 5,000 people.
All sarcasm aside, it’s just silly that the Amtrak system doesn’t have a stop in Madison.
There is a substantial amount of students from the Chicago and Twin Cities areas who would benefit from having easy access to a transportation system that can seamlessly take them from home to campus and back.
If you’ve ever been near Johnson or Gorham Street during either the beginning or end of a semester, you know how congested traffic can get around campus. With that in mind, I don’t think it’s too outrageous to say that an Amtrak station near campus would probably alleviate a lot of those problems for traveling students.
The state of Wisconsin was actually offered $810 million from the federal government in 2010 to build a Madison line to Milwaukee, but Walker thought it best to respond with a no at the time.
Long story short, we should really do something about this ‘no Amtrak in Madison’ thing. Hopefully Walker will have a change of heart now that it’s been a few years since 2010, and brings a system to Madison that can make life for a lot of people a bit easier.
Phil Michaelson ([email protected]) is a junior majoring in biomedical engineering.