Why Spanish Train-Maker is Leaving Wis.


May 5, 2014


Wis. Gov. Scott Walker rejected millions in federal stimulus money for a new commuter line, costing the state thousands of job.
Photo used under a Creative Commons License from Flickr user Gateway Technical College

Sad news out of Milwaukee. Spanish train-maker Talgo is vacating its factory in the city, four years after Gov. Scott Walker rejected millions in federal stimulus money to create a Milwaukee-to-Madison commuter line.


The funding, part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, was meant to create high-speed rail links across the country, which would have modernized America’s industrial infrastructure, creating good jobs in the process.

Soon after taking office in 2010, Walker turned down the $810 million in federal rail funds. The monies, already budgeted for the state, went to Illinois instead.

Talgo set up its North American headquarters in Milwaukee shortly before Walker’s election, with plans to make the city a hub for rail manufacturing in the Midwest.

The project was expected to create tens of thousands of construction and manufacturing jobs.

“Walker turned his back on a lot of jobs,” said Milwaukee Local 494 Business Manager John Bzdawka. “Not just for electricians, but all the trades, plus manufacturing jobs at the Talgo plant.”

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett told reporters April 30 that the plant closing means lost jobs and opportunities in a neighborhood that needs them.

“It’s tragedy to the people working here,” he said.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Florida Gov. Rick Scott also turned down federal rail money.