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Paying for high speed transportation

Meeting: Tonight - Monday, Mar 4th, 7 pm (central),

Zoom will not be available for this one


Meeting Agenda:

  • Headlines

  • Review of 2019 Foxconn competition & how WiHST was formed.

  • Next week: Tom Roadcap from Brightline


Faster Headlines

Wheels on Steel:

Las Vegas Review-Journal
The Daily Mail
Live Science
The San Francisco Chronicle
Fox News

(this one isn't bad, although Fox News can't seem to figure out when are the LA Olympics


Up in the Air:



Interest Form on Chicago Trip:

Please let us know your preferences for a day trip to Chicagi:


Next Week: Tom Roadcap from Brightline

Tom studied at the University of Illinois - Champaign/Urbana, where he was part of their AREMA student chapter, and then found his way to Brightline in Florida. At Brightline, Tom worked on crossings, straightening curves, and the all-new infrastructure from Cocoa Beach to Orlando. Currently, the plan is for Tom to move to Las Vegas to work on Brightline West.

Next week: Tom will be giving us an overview of the Brightline projects as well as his own insights into the experience of working for Brightline.


When the Midwest had Shinkansen Speeds

At one time Wisconsin's Hiawatha was as fast as the Japanese bullet train?

Back in the 1970's & 80's Amtrak experimented with operating trains built by ANF of France.  These trains, called Turboliners, operated between Milwaukee and Chicago on the Hiawatha route (as well as Chicago-St. Louis & Chicago-Detroit). Of special interest is that these trains had a top speed of 125 mph, which was the same speed as Japan's model 100 Shinkansen's operating at the time between Tokyo and Osaka (France and Europe were not operating high-speed trains at the time).

Unfortunately, the Turboliners were discontinued because of maintenance costs and upkeep of the tracks.  Amtrak (as always) was underfunded and unable to cover the costs of the maintenance and reverted the service back to traditional passenger rail.  This is why today the Hiawatha's maximum speed is only 79 mph, and why yes, we are traveling slower than our grandparents. 


How to pay for High-Speed Transportation

Back in 2019, the WiHST group put together a proposal for creating a "smart city" near the Foxconn plant in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin. While neither the Foxconn plant nor the smart city was ever developed, the research on value capture to pay for the smart city is pretty solid.

Contained in this submission is a master plan for not only building a bullet train and a Hyperloop from Milwaukee to Chicago but contains our plan on how to build high speed rail…at a profit. 

The secret ingredient is real estate value capture. This five minute pitch video, which stars our student experts Johnny Kohlbeck and Ethan Gudmundsson, and is produced by Kevin Chukel, highlights how we believe high-speed rail and Hyperloops should be built. The concept is based upon the idea that as rail becomes faster, more people will ride the train. These people will then be funneled through new stations, and the land around the stations will become more valuable. Then using sales tax, real estate tax, rent, and parking; pay off the bonds for building the high-speed train.


The Faster Badger is produced by students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to help break through the misconceptions of high-speed rail and high-speed transportation. This blog is for educational purposes only and all opinions presented are of the students.

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