Advocates make last-minute pitch to site Amtrak depot on isthmus


Mike Ivey brings us this story on what could either be a great opportunity or a great regret for the city of Madison, WI.  Stimulus funding for rail service between Milwaukee, and Madison is likely on its way, and the hard decision now is finding where to put the train station.  A site near the airport, over five miles from the capitol, was picked out back in 2000 and is considered “shovel-ready.” Unfortunately, this would miss a huge opportunity to create transit-oriented development closer to downtown.  A group of locals has proposed locating the station not at the airport, but at what is being called “Yahara Station.”  This site is 1.7 miles from the capitol and could be a site for apartments, restaurants and other venues, and could spur the redevelopment of the East Washington Avenue corridor.  The location is convenient to the capitol, Monona Terrace, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.  It is also right next to the proposed right-of-way of the potential Dane County commuter rail.  Despite all of these advantages, state leaders are unwilling to relocate the station to a location that could spur moch more development for a “convenient” site that will get them next to nothing.  If anyone who reads this is from Madison, I would encourage you to contact the mayor and let him know that you would like to see the station near downtown, not in the middle of nowhere.

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