Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
MADISON - Wisconsin taxpayers are spending $13 million on new Amtrak train cars even though they've already paid $60 million on a different set of train cars they will never get to use.
The latest payment is a reminder of the costly fight that seized the state for years over a now-abandoned rail line between Madison and Milwaukee.
In 2009, Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle entered a no-bid contract with Talgo Inc. to build two trains for the existing Hiawatha line that runs between Milwaukee and Chicago.
Soon afterward, Wisconsin secured an $810 million federal stimulus grant to establish the Madison-to-Milwaukee line. Talgo was retained to build trains for that line as well and was to provide maintenance on all its trains for 20 years.
Republican Scott Walker campaigned for governor in 2010 on stopping the Madison-to-Milwaukee train. Work stopped on the project soon after he was elected.
Talgo, a Spanish company with U.S. headquarters in Seattle, continued to build the trains for the Chicago-to-Milwaukee line and eventually sued the state over its contract for the work.