Dear members of the EDC,
Today I saw an article in The Daily Reporter, and had a few comments.
I have to say that I completely disagree with Alder Clear and Mario Mendoza about the best strategy to influence the debate about bringing frequent passenger rail to the city. I have been working very hard on this issue, and I feel that we need every voice to speak up, and not just one voice coming from the Mayor. As the committee that is tasked with looking at economic development issues, you can speak to a different perspective than any other individual or elected official. You can say, "This is an economic development issue, and it is important for the future of Madison on that basis alone."
Although I tend to agree with the Mayor on these issues, opponents of the rail project can more easily dismiss an individual well known as an advocate for the environment and transportation alternatives.
I also agree with Julia Stone, that this is also a public opinion issue, not just a political issue. We do not have enough input from the business community across the state saying that having a modern, fast, clean transportation system in Wisconsin is essential to our economic future. I have been very disappointed by the lack of input from the business sector, with the exception of DMI. At least, whatever is being said is not making the news.
I'm sorry I didn't attend your meeting last night to say just that. If you have another opportunity to write a letter or pass on your opinion on this issue, I hope you take it. In the meantime, I hope you will each write a letter to Governor-elect Walker, and the entire State Senate and Assembly, to show support for the rail project through Madison and on to the Twin Cities. This is critical to the future economic future of Madison and will provide connection to the entire Midwest.
Please speak as a member of the EDC in your letter, despite the fact that your were talked out of taking an official stand as a committee last night.
If you need further information on chances to weigh in on the rail debate, please let me know. The next important date is Dec 7, when the Wisconsin DOT will hold hearings on the best route for the Milwaukee - Twin Cities route.
Thank you for your attention to this issue.
Former Alder Robbie Webber