Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Good & The Bad Of Our Infrastructure

There has been a lot of talk about infrastructure amongst politicians, pundits, economic developers, etc. as a needed path toward revitalization. Different groups analyzing America's infrastructure have given poor grades to the quality of our bridges, electricity and water infrastructure.

Yet, Evan Soltas recently opined about The Myth of The Failing Bridge:
Maybe it's going too far to say, "The U.S. is doing just fine, thank you very much." The nation would benefit from reordering its infrastructure priorities -- away from new highways, for example, where we are already overbuilt and usage is falling for the first extended period on record. And we'd do well to take advantage of low interest rates and idle construction resources to knock out all of our future infrastructure needs. 
But the idea that the U.S. has an infrastructure crisis? No. A broad, permanent increase in spending is unwarranted...

Between 2001 and 2011, annual public investment averaged 3.3 percent of gross domestic product, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The average OECD nation spent 3 percent of GDP over the same period...

Total public construction spending has varied between 1.7 percent and 2.3 percent of GDP for the last 20 years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. By the Congressional Budget Office's slightly different measure, infrastructure spending has been between 2.3 percent and 3.1 percent of GDP since 1956...

Believe it or not, infrastructure has improved significantly over the last two decades. In its report for 2010, the Federal Highway Administration said that 57 percent of all vehicle-miles were traveled on federal highways with ratings of "good" or higher -- according to a measure of road quality pleasingly known as the International Roughness Index. That was up from 48 percent in 2000. The percentage of roads in bad condition has also declined: In 1989 6.6 percent of rural and urban interstates were rated "poor"; now only 1.9 percent of rural interstates and 5.4 percent of urban ones earn that grade.

Despite warnings from President Barack Obama, America's bridges have never been safer. The highway administration rated 21.9 percent of its bridges "deficient" in 2009, as compared to 37.8 percent in 1989. And contrary to Obama's implication, the word "deficient" does not mean unsafe, at least as the highway administration uses it. A bridge is "deficient" when it would benefit from expansion and renovation in line with usage.

Traffic congestion has diminished. In 1989, 52.6 percent of urban interstates were rated "congested" according to a comparison of peak volume to planned capacity. In 2009, the figure was 26.3 percent
So how can we have, as Soltas claims, steady infrastructure spending and improvements alongside others claiming failing grades for much of our infrastructure?

In 2010, 57 percent of all vehicle-miles may have been traveled on federal highways with ratings of good or higher, compared with 2000, but it could be that federal highways have been getting the bulk of infrastructure dollars. Regardless, a 9 percentage point improvement is still laudable. Yet, if this is where a majority of our infrastructure dollars were spent, we would expect to see an improvement.

Are population changes (primarily people moving), between 1989 to 2009, responsible for the decrease shown in traffic congestion? Because more people are living in certain mega-regions, does it follow that the areas which have lost population would have less congestion? Information concerning migration and commute times could help flesh this metric out.

Do we just need to re-prioritize how our infrastructure money is spent?

Jason Sattier has found that infrastructure spending is actually declining.

“In 2012, the Federal Highway Administration said 67,000 — 11 percent — of the nation’s 607,000 bridges were structurally deficient,” USA Today‘s Marisol Bello reports. “That means the bridges are not unsafe but must be closely monitored and inspected or repaired.” 
The chart above from Business Insider‘s Joe Weisenthal illustrates just how little money the federal government is spending on public construction. Despite this, proposals like an infrastructure bank can’t even get a vote in the House of Representatives.
The American Society of Civil Engineers 2013 Report Card gave our infrastructure a grade of D+. They estimate the U.S. needs $3.3 trillion in infrastructure investment by 2020. They estimate Wisconsin has 1,157 structurally deficient bridges, 71% of roads are of poor or mediocre quality, $6.2 billion is needed for drinking water and $6.4 billion is needed for wastewater. Almost 14% of Wisconsin bridges are either functionally obsolete or structurally deficient.

John Diehm and Katy Hall provide a graphic of bridge collapses across the country:

The Times reports that, according to federal records, the bridge in question has a sufficiency rating of 57.4 out of 100, which is well below the state average of 80. Yet 759 other bridges have even worse marks.
Lydia Mulvany reported, "Seven Wisconsin highways built in the last 20 years are underused, raising questions about the more than a billion dollars they cost taxpayers, according to a report the WISPIRG Foundation released Thursday...The state still is spending billions on highways while cutting funding for local roads and other forms of transportation, the report said. The 2011-2013 biennial budget appropriated $1.2 billion for highway construction projects, and Gov. Scott Walker's current budget proposal includes more than $3 billion in highway spending."

It appears, across the country, certain infrastructure is getting the bulk of spending (highways and more recently rail), whilst the neediest infrastructure goes without.

Total federal clean-technology spending, by year (billions), 2009–2014

Not all is bad, as Brad Plumer details:
Our infrastructure is actually getting better in some areas. For the first time in 15 years, the grade for U.S. infrastructure rose, from a D to a D+. And six areas have seen improvement since 2009, including roads, bridges, rail, drinking water, solid waste disposal and wastewater treatment. Two big examples: 
1) U.S. rail is getting better: Rail in particular has seen some big upgrades in the past few years, partly thanks to stimulus money but largely due to private investment: “In 2010 alone,” the report notes, “freight railroads renewed the rails on more than 3,100 miles of railroad track, equivalent to going coast to coast. Since 2009, capital investment from both freight and passenger railroads has exceeded $75 billion.” 
2) So are our roads: America’s roads have also become sturdier in recent years, thanks to an uptick in federal stimulus spending as well as increased investments from states and the rise of private-public partnerships — overall investments have now increased to $91 billion per year.
We are taking care of certain infrastructure (highways), it seems. Yet we are obviously neglecting other areas (water, electricity). The findings appear to indicate that merely diverting some of the funding for new/repaired highways and roads toward other infrastructure needs could go along way in helping address some of our most pressing infrastructure projects.

For Further Reading:

Read more here:

Midweek Reading

Examples Of Bush & Republicans Using Government To Target Critics
Groups Targeted By IRS Tested Rules Of Politics
Six Facts Lost In The IRS Scandal
Washington Misses The Point On The Tea Party & The IRS
All Killer Tornadoes Since 1950
Itsa Pharmaceuticals To Pay $33.5 Million To Settle Claims For Paying Doctors To Push Drugs
US Cities Growing Faster Than Suburbs

Sunday, May 19, 2013

CEO-To-Worker Pay Ratio

"Entitlements" - Another Republican-Manufactured "Crisis"

The Entitlement Crisis That Isn’t
Social Security won't contribute to future budget deficits. By law, it can only spend money from the Social Security trust fund.
Social Security Is Not the Problem
The figure below, from CBO, show that as a share of GDP, neither Social Security nor other spending (which includes the discretionary spending that everyone’s all gung ho to slash away at) are driving government spending as a share of the economy. It’s health care. And as I’ve stressed every time this comes up, that’s not a gov’t problem—that’s just a problem. In fact, health costs grow faster in the private than in the public sector.
Washington thinks entitlements are the problem. Maybe they’re the answer.
There is No Entitlement Crisis
That the United States faces daunting long-term budget challenges is indisputable. But the very projections—those of the Congressional Budget Office—cited to document the long-term budget challenge, show that there is no general entitlement problem. Rather, the nation faces a daunting health care financing problem that bedevils private insurers and public programs alike.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Scott Walker: Wisconsin's (Continually) Losing Bet

Taxpayers will pay more under Scott Walker health plan, study says
Gov. Scott Walker's proposed rejection of a federally funded expansion of state health programs would add some $50 million in costs to state taxpayers over the next two years, according to the Legislature's nonpartisan budget office.
Lost jobs ... unused investment ... how much is Wisconsin willing to endure?

But really, what did you (Walker voters) expect? These (disastrous) results are typical of Republican governance.

For Further Reading:
The numbers show that Democrats are better for the economy than Republicans.
GOP Leaders Remind Voters the Economy Does Better Under Democrats

More Republican-Manufactured Distractions:The Overblown IRS Controversy

It’s important to review why the Tea Party groups were petitioning the I.R.S. anyway. They were seeking approval to operate under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code. This would require them to be “social welfare,” not political, operations. There are significant advantages to being a 501(c)(4). These groups don’t pay taxes; they don’t have to disclose their donors—unlike traditional political organizations, such as political-action committees. In return for the tax advantage and the secrecy, the 501(c)(4) organizations must refrain from traditional partisan political activity, like endorsing candidates. 
If that definition sounds murky—that is, if it’s unclear what 501(c)(4) organizations are allowed to do—that’s because it is murky. Particularly leading up to the 2012 elections, many conservative organizations, nominally 501(c)(4)s, were all but explicitly political in their work. For example, Americans for Prosperity, which was funded in part by the Koch Brothers, was an instrumental force in helping the Republicans hold the House of Representatives. In every meaningful sense, groups like Americans for Prosperity were operating as units of the Republican Party. Democrats organized similar operations, but on a much smaller scale. (They undoubtedly would have done more, but they lacked the Republican base for funding such efforts.) 
So the scandal—the real scandal—is that 501(c)(4) groups have been engaged in political activity in such a sustained and open way...
But let’s be clear on the real scandal here. The columnist Michael Kinsley has often observed that the scandal isn’t what’s illegal—it’s what’s legal. It’s what society chooses not to punish that tells us most about the prevailing ethical standards of the time. Campaign finance operates by shaky, or even nonexistent, rules, and powerful players game the system with impunity. A handful of I.R.S. employees saw this and tried, in a small way, to impose some small sense of order. For that, they’ll likely be ushered into bureaucratic oblivion.
The Real Scandal Behind The IRS Controversy
Yes, the IRS employees in Cincinnati, looking for shortcuts to process the wave of applications, used conservative-themed catchwords to filter for groups that were perhaps too election-focused to merit 501(c)(4) status. But there is a plausible explanation for this: Most of the campaign-minded applications they were getting were conservative! This is a credit to the tea party movement, which for a while was generating levels of grassroots activism that the left could only envy. Why did the IRS not screen for “corporate greed” or “plutocracy” or “inequality”? Well, maybe because those words would have netted precious few applications to scrutinize. 
Not to mention that the applications from tea party groups demanded special attention for another reason: These groups were proudly political! Even if you take at face value the movement’s initial claim to be something all its own, something more than just the conservative wing of the Republican Party, its whole purpose from the get-go was to orient American politics and government toward its constitutional roots by intervening in elections at all levels, starting with Republican Party primaries. The tea party groups’ whole mission called their suitability for 501(c)(4) status into question.
Media Cries Foul Over IRS Tea-Party Action
Either way, the momentary "buzz" is now focused on how employees at the IRS Processing Office in Cincinnati, Ohio allegedly "targeted" Tea-Party groups seeking to gain 501.c.4 tax-status exemption certification. The Conservative based organizations declare they were targeted due to a deep dislike of President Barack Obama policies, including a vehement opposition to the Affordable Care Act. 
These are important facts to remember when the media "echo-chamber"seeks to push the next "Independent Counsel Investigation" lasting until 2014 or 2016 election cycle. Our media resources would lead the public to believe Americans ability to place food on the tables with Congress purposed cuts to the Food Assistance program, is not pertinent enough to talk about. Especially when "underlying race based issues" come into play with the IRS/Tea-Party Targeting story. 
Speaking of race and class issues with IRS Auditing procedures, the media would be wise to compare and contrast what happened in 2004, when the National Association of the Advancement of Color People (NAACP) via its' former President Julian Bondwas targeted by the IRS for the groups' opposition to the failed Iraq War, if they can find file footage that is. At least Democracy Now Amy Goodman was talking about this targeting effort of the NAACP back then.
The Tea Party and the IRS “Scandal” The Actual Facts of the Case
While it is well-known that the so-called IRS scandal has been used by Tea Partiers to bash the IRS, less well known are the actual facts of the case. 
Some of the flagged groups did have their tax-exempt status delayed or did face some additional scrutiny, but not a single group has been denied tax-exempt status.

A May 14 draft report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration found that none of the 296 questionable applicants had been denied, “For the 296 potential political cases we reviewed, as of December 17, 2012, 108 applications had been approved, 28 were withdrawn by the applicant, none had been denied, and 160 cases were open from 206 to 1,138 calendar days (some crossing two election cycles).”  
In fact, the only known 501(c)(4) applicant to recently have its status denied happens to be a progressive group: the Maine chapter of Emerge America, which trains Democratic women to run for office. Although the group did no electoral work, and didn’t participate in independent expenditure campaign activity either, its partisan nature disqualified it from being categorized as working for the “common good.”...
These are but a few of the many examples of political intervention by Tea Party non-profits that IREHR has catalogued. There are many, many more. They’re not difficult to find. Rather than the so-called scandal cooked up by Tea Party groups, the real criticism of the IRS may be that it has let so many of these groups get away with what are apparently egregious violations.
The Real IRS Scandal
The Other IRS Scandal
The IRS Was Dead Right To Scrutinize The Tea Party
Congress Put Pressure On IRS To Investigate Conservative Groups
Many Political Parties Should Not Be Tax Exempt
The Real IRS Scandal
Remember When The IRS Targeted Liberals?
The IRS Tea Party Scandal, Explained

Weekend Reading

How The Case For Austerity Has Crumbled
Lessons Of The North Atlantic Crisis For Economic Theory & Policy
Crisis Before & After The Creation Of The Fed
How They Do It Elsewhere
Why Did The U.S. Financial Sector Grow?
Let's Get Real About The Stock Market
Top CEO Pay Ratios

Corporate Profits Up, Their Taxes Have Fallen

Ayn Rand USA: In 20 Years Corporate Profits Are Up 4X and Their Taxes Have Fallen by 50% -- Meanwhile the Workers' Payroll Tax Has Doubled
In the past twenty years, corporate profits have quadrupled while the corporate tax percent has dropped by half. The payroll tax, paid by workers, has doubled... 
Companies call their CEO bonuses "performance pay" to get a lower rate. Private equity firms call fees "capital gains" to get a lower rate. Fast food companies call their lunch menus "intellectual property" to get a lower rate. 
Prisons and casinos have stooped to the level of calling themselves "real estate investment trusts" (REITs) to gain tax exemptions. Stooping lower yet, Disney and others have added cows and sheep to their greenspace to get a farmland exemption... 
The IRS estimated that 17 percent of taxes owed were not paid in 2006, leaving an underpayment of $450 billion. The revenue loss from tax havens approaches $450 billion. Subsidies from special deductions, exemptions, exclusions, credits, capital gains, and loopholes are estimated at over $1 trillion. Expenditures overwhelmingly benefit the richest taxpayers... 
Only 3 percent of the CEOs, upper management, and financial professionals were entrepreneurs in 2005, even though they made up about 60 percent of the richest .1% of Americans. A recent study found that less than 1 percent of all entrepreneurs came from very rich or very poor backgrounds. Job creators come from the middle class. 
So if the super-rich are not holding the world on their shoulders, what do they do with their money? According to both Marketwatch and economist Edward Wolff, over 90 percent of the assets owned by millionaires are held in a combination of low-risk investments (bonds and cash), personal business accounts, the stock market, and real estate.

Subsidized Hotels

Construction is set to begin this coming spring on a hotel near Milwaukee's Mitchell International Airport after government officials in the area spent five years struggling to get a private developer interested in the project. 
What tipped the balance? Officials in the small Milwaukee suburb of Oak Creek, Wis., came up with a $2.75 million tax break for the developer, Salita Development LLC... 
Still, these hotels don't always perform well and they often generate criticism. For example, Greg Marcus, chief executive of Milwaukee-based Marcus Corp., is concerned that the new airport hotel and other such subsidized projects around the country will drain business from his 20 hotels, including his three in Milwaukee. The city's hotel market faces a 24% increase in its room count due to projects expected to complete construction over the next three years, according to Robert W. Baird & Co. 
Mr. Marcus also points out that subsidized hotels carry less debt and thus can undercut their competitors' nightly rates. "When you build something for reasons other than supply and demand, you create imbalances in the system," he said. "That's why our government needs to be so careful with what they do" in subsidizing hotel development.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Scott Walker: Moving Wisconsin Backwards

The Not-So Fiscally Conservative Governor
A report by the non-partisan Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance does an analysis using generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP, to look at the overall state deficit. Walker cut it from $2.99 billion to $2.21 billion in 2012 and by this summer that is expected to drop to $2.06 billion. 
But under the governor’s new budget, that figure is expected to increase to $2.36 billion by 2014 and $2.64 billion by 2015. Meanwhile he wants to greatly increase bonded debt. WisTax noted he is asking to issue an additional $2.1 billion in bonds, equal to 16% of all outstanding state debt. 
The bonded indebtedness of the state has also risen steadily since the income tax was indexed. The WisTax report doesn’t go back to 1999 but does show the state debt has risen from $5.8 billion in 2002 to $13.6 billion in 2013, and that will jump to $15.7 billion if Walker’s budget is approved in this regard.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Wisconsin Reading

Other critics, though, say the job cuts suggest that waging war on public-sector worker unions, cutting funding for public education and proclaiming the state “open for business” won’t magically turn Wisconsin into a new economy powerhouse. 
“What it says to me is that political rhetoric is irrelevant,” says Jack Norman, past research director at the Institute for Wisconsin’s Future. 
Norman says companies make hiring and other decisions based on demand for their products and whether they can do business better in a different location. The effect of government policies is somewhere on the fringe, he says. 
On the other hand, Norman says one could argue the cuts to public worker take-home pay and other cost-savings measures under Walker have actually made Wisconsin’s economy worse. Here is a graphic showing job growth in Wisconsin before and after he took office. 
“I think we’re seeing a local version of the austerity vs. investment debate going on across the capitalist world,” says Norman. “And right now, some countries are getting rid of their austerity policies because they aren’t working.” 

Light rail from downtown Milwaukee to Waukesha? Republicans at the state killed it
Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee (KRM) commuter rail? Republicans at the state killed it
Extending the Amtrak Hiawatha Service to Madison at 110 mph (with stops in Brookfield and Watertown)? Republicans at the state killed it
Building a maintenance base for trainsets the state had already purchased from Talgo? Republicans at the state killed it
Rebuilding the train shed at Milwaukee Intermodal Station? Republicans rejected federal funds to fix the non-ADA compliant shed and are now left with a situation that will cost Wisconsinites millions
A streetcar starter system in downtown Milwaukee? Republicans killed it. 
The common link? All the projects were proposed by Democrats, had a presence in the City of Milwaukee, and involved steel wheels on steel rails. 
Since becoming Governor in 2010, Scott Walker will have effectively rejected over $1 billion in federal money for rail transportation projects. The loss of high-speed rail funds to connect Chicago, Madison, and Milwaukee represent $823 million. The KRM funds would have beenat least $140 million. Assuming Walker (who has made clear his opposition to the Milwaukee streetcar) ultimately supports the amendment proposed by the Joint Finance Committee, he will also be rejecting $54.9 million for the Milwaukee Streetcar, which is the last of a $289 million 1991 federal grant.

The Fiscal Bureau reports that case law is on the side of Milwaukee on the subject of residency, noting that the U.S. Supreme Court and various state courts "have tended to uphold the constitutionality of the municipal residency requirements, generally siding with the public interests of governments and its policy reasons for such requirements."
Sweeping aside a 75-year-old City of Milwaukee residency ordinance and others like it, Republicans on the Legislature's budget committee voted Thursday to allow police and firefighters to live at least 15 miles outside of any community in the state and bar utility ratepayers from having to bear any costs for a proposed streetcar in the city - potentially killing the project. 
On several votes Thursday, the Joint Finance Committee loaded up the state budget with policy items that had little to do with Wisconsin's finances. Many of the other policy items also limited the powers of local governments, such as a measure barring them from regulating the size of sodas.
GOP fakes up a controversy over the UW system's financial reserves

Stock Markets Rise, But Half Of Americans Don’t Benefit

Gun Homicides Are Down 49 Percent Since 1993

Saturday, May 4, 2013


Have you been paying attention to Scott Walker's initiative to supposedly spur job growth? Transforming the Wisconsin Department of Commerce into the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation? Yes, even though Republicans always claim government doesn't know what it's doing and must get out of the way. When Republicans are in office, suddenly an entity of their making is the answer for explosive job creation.

In January 2011 Good Job First released, Public-Private Power Grab: The Risks in Privatizing State Economic Development Agencies (which I wrote about in February 2011).
The idea is far from new but it is not a common or standard practice. Economic development PPPs date back more than 20 years, but only seven states currently allow private entities to control their business recruitment functions: Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia and Wyoming. 
Several other states previously employed PPPs but abandoned them because of performance problems. Most of the seven states that currently make use of economic development PPPs have experienced a variety of performance problems. These include the following:
  • Misuse of taxpayer funds (Rhode Island, Florida and Wyoming);
  • Excessive executive bonuses (Virginia, Florida, Michigan and Wyoming);
  • Questionable subsidy awards by the subset of PPPs that have a role in that process (Michigan and Rhode Island);
  • Conflicts of interest in subsidy awards (Florida, Utah and Texas, which makes limited use of PPPs);
  • Questionable claims by the PPP about its effectiveness (Wyoming, Florida, Utah and Indiana); and
  • Resistance to accountability (Florida and Michigan).
I followed up on my initial posting with more critiques, ending with Wisconsin Economic Development: Walker's Untraceable Slush Fund. This is what Republicans do. They use government to enrich themselves and their cronies. They really have no concern for public policy and governing. The government is simply a means to easy-money for their pilfering and pet projects.

And now the verdict is in...

More evidence of corruption and misappropriation:

Weekend Reading

Myth Of America's Tech Talent Shortage
The Rise Of Genetically Modified Crops
Margaret Thatcher And Misapplied Death Etiquette
Obama Nominates Sleazy Subprime Banker As Commerce Secretary
U.S. Spending Cuts Seen As Key In Slowing Growth

Most Exciting Cities In America: Milwaukee

7. Milwaukee

(Anti) Democracy & (Not) Counting Votes - Welcome To Republican Governance

North Carolina Republicans Push Through Anti-Renewable Energy Bill in 'Banana Republic' Vote
Democrats in North Carolina say they could have defeated a bill to repeal renewable energy subsidies on Wednesday if Republicans had not pushed it through committee without counting the votes. 
The state Senate Finance Committee debated the bill to end the state's 6-year-old renewable energy program for over 40 minutes before Republican chairman Bill Rabon called for a motion. 
"It's still a factor that renewable energy sources really don't provide a constant reliable source of electricity to be put into the grid and that means that we still have to have the baseload plant cost into delivering electricity so that anytime that switch is turned on, there has to be power there," bill supporter state Sen. Bob Rucho (R) argued. "So with that being said, I move for a favorable report." 
As one lawmaker shouted out to have the votes co"unted by a show of hands, Republican chairman Bill Rabon called for the yeas and nays, decided that the motioned carried and then gaveled the hearing to a close. 
"Opponents of the bill shouted 'No!' when voting to show their frustration at Republican chairman Bill Rabon’s refusal to count votes with a show of hands," the Raleigh News & Observer noted. "In what was clearly a razor-thin margin, both sides said they would have won if the votes had been counted." 
"North Carolina is not a banana republic," Sen. Josh Stein (D) complained following the hearing. “That was no way to run a proceeding.” 
Republican Sen. Andrew Brock said that opponents yelled "No!" so loudly that they must have confused the meeting with the “Spivey’s Corner Hollerin’ Contest.” 
Environmental advocates have suggested that Republicans based the bill on model legislation from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Republican state Rep. Mike Hager, who authored the bill, is an ALEC member.
Does this remind anyone of the tactics used by Wisconsin Republicans pushing through Scott Walker's agenda?

Walker's Anemic Job Growth

The Lingering Failures Of Scott Walker

James Rowen, of The Political Environment, wrote:
What jobs-deprived Wisconsin lost when Walker shut down at the Talgo plant in a low-income Milwaukee neighborhood is flourishing just across the border in Illinois
“High speed rail is coming to America and some of that equipment will be built right here in Rochelle,” U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said. “What a great thing for our state and what a great opportunity to put our friends and neighbors to work." 
Noted in March, here
...Illinois is celebrating the news that $808 million for new trains will be managed or built in Illinois for delivery to five states - - with manufacturing to take place at a plant in Rochelle, IL that is about 25 miles south of Beloit:

Locomotives capable of exceeding the 110-mph speed limit on the passenger rail corridor between Chicago and St. Louis will be bought for Illinois and four other states under a process the Illinois Department of Transportation will lead, officials said Thursday. 
The Federal Railroad Administration selected IDOT to manage the multistate procurement of at least 35 next-generation locomotives for high-speed rail corridors in Illinois, California, Michigan, Missouri and Washington state, Gov. 
Pat Quinn said.The Illinois Governor spelled it out:

Today’s announcement is part of the governor’s commitment to bring Illinois’ and our nation’s transportation systems into the 21st century. 
“This decision by the federal government is a testament to Illinois’ role as a national leader in high-speed rail,” Governor Quinn said. “This important multi-state procurement is a key to success for high-speed rail throughout the nation, and I have directed my administration to move forward quickly.”More lost jobs for Wisconsin, where Walker's 250,000 new jobs promise is failing in part because he killed rail construction, manufacturing, R&D and repair employment in our state.
Yet another example of the tremendous failure Scott Walker and the Republicans are when it comes to job creation, long-term planning, and public policy.