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Intercity Passenger Rail Transportation - Overview and Presentation of Alternative Policies for Intercity Passenger Rail Transporation - Wisconsin TransLinks 21



Click HERE for graphic.





MISSION STATEMENT

TRANSLINKS 21 -
Wisconsin's 21st century transportation plan - will outline a
comprehensive transportation system that will move people and goods
efficiently, strengthens our economy, protects our environment, and
supports our quality of life. Working with DOT, the public will
identify Wisconsin's transportation needs - and help to make
tomorrow's transportation choices.

Tommy G. Thompson,
Governor

Charles H. Thompson,
Secretary





                      Intercity Passenger Rail
                           Transportation

              An overview of issues land a presentation
                  of four alternative scenarios for
               intercity passenger rail transportation
                      in the state of Wisconsin

               Wisconsin Department of Transportation
                              July 1994





                           ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

This paper was created by the Wisconsin Department of
Transportation.  The principal author, editor and publisher of this
document was Daniel Yeh, Multimodal Planning Unit.

Others providing significant input for this document include the
following: Maria Hart, Multimodal Planning Unit; John Hartz,
Supervisor of the Multimodal Planning Unit; Randall Wade, Chief of
the Statewide System Planning Section; Paul Heitmann, Director of
the Bureau of Railroads and Harbors; Ron Adams, Chief of the Rail
Project Management Section; C. Keith Plasterer, Rail Project
Management Section.

A contracted consultant team has been retained by WisDOT to perform
certain elements of intercity passenger planning.  This team is
comprised of YPMG Peat Marwick of Vienna, Virginia; HNTB
Corporation of Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Thomas K. Dyer,
Incorporated of Lexington, Massachusetts.





                          TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. BACKGROUND INFORMATION                                          3

2. PLANNING ACTIVITIES UNDER TRANSLINKS 21                         8

3. TRANSLINKS 21 ALTERNATIVE SCENARIOS                            11

ATTACHMENT Al: SCENARIO MAPS                                      19

ATTACHMENT A2: SCENARIO MAPS                                      20

ATTACHMENT B: SUMMARY OF SCENARIOS                                21





 
                      1. BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Introduction

Passenger rail services are a key part of Wisconsin's
transportation system, and are growing in importance after periods
of decline and stabilization.

At one time, rail transportation was the dominant intercity travel
mode for people in the state, both for local and national trips. 
Through the past decades, passenger rail services have declined
both in their usage and in the services offered for a variety of
reasons.  However, the situation has stabilized and even improved
slightly in Wisconsin, while trends and events point to an expanded
and enhanced role for passenger rail transportation in the future.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) is currently
engaged in a long range transportation planning process called
Translinks 21.  Translinks 21 outlines a comprehensive
transportation system which will move people and goods efficiently,
strengthen our economy, protect our environment, and support our
quality of life.

Translinks 21 includes analysis of intercity, multimodal
transportation, referring longer-distance trips over a variety of
different modes of transportation.  One component of intercity
passenger transportation is the passenger rail system.

This document is one of a series of similar documents discussing
the various freight and passenger modes of intercity
transportation.  The first part of this paper provides background
information and key issues dealing with passenger rail
transportation.  The second part discusses the various planning
activities undertaken by WisDOT for the passenger rail mode.  The
final section of this document outlines specific alternatives to be
considered for future planning.

Passenger rail service in Wisconsin -- an overview

A period of decline
Passenger rail service, offered by private railroads, was a key
mode of travel in Wisconsin and the nation at one time.  Over a
period of time, however, passenger rail service experienced a
significant decline from its role as the dominant mode of intercity
travel.  As one example of this decline, by 1940 the total of auto
vehicle miles traveled in Wisconsin was more than 15 times the
amount of passenger rail miles.  In another example, as late as
1970 the number of passengers using rail and air services in
Wisconsin were nearly equal.  Since then air passengers have
greatly outnumbered rail passengers in the state.

In addition to intercity passenger routes, Wisconsin travelers
historically had access to commuter rail services, including the
interurban systems centered around the Milwaukee area and extending
into surrounding counties.  There was also extensive commuter-
oriented service in the Milwaukee- 

                                            Passenger rail -- Page 3





Chicago corridor, and from Chicago to other points in southeastern
Wisconsin.  The only commuter rail service remaining today in the
state extends from Chicago to Kenosha.

Over the years, faced with declining passenger levels, many
railroads began to reduce or abandon passenger rail services. 
While these actions allowed railroads to leave what they considered
a money-losing business, they also caused the decline to escalate
even further, since cutbacks caused even more passengers to desert
rail service.

Creation of Amtrak
In 1971, faced with these major declines in the passenger rail
services, Congress created the National Railroad Passenger
Corporation, commonly known as Amtrak, to operate the nation's
intercity passenger rail services.  Amtrak was set up as a private
corporation which received subsidies from the federal government. 
Amtrak created a national system under a single company (although a
few railroads continued their own services for several years).

While the creation of Amtrak stabilized the passenger rail system,
the creation of a national system also meant the final
discontinuance of many routes, including several in Wisconsin. 
Figure I (next page) displays passenger rail routes around 197 1,
when Amtrak began operations.

Throughout the 1980's, Amtrak's operations in Wisconsin were
generally stable, with few significant variations in service. 
Generally, two to three daily round-trips were provided in the
Chicago-Milwaukee corridor, while one daily round-trip was provided
in the Chicago-Milwaukee-Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul)
corridor (usually as part of long-distance service to the Pacific
Northwest).  Service to Duluth/Superior via the Twin Cities was
also provided for several years.

Amtrak expansion in Wisconsin
A comeback for passenger rail service began in 1989, when the
states of Wisconsin and Illinois cosponsored a demonstration
project in the Chicago-Milwaukee corridor to increase train
frequencies.  With the states' financial support, the newly
expanded Hiawatha Service allowed for five local round-trips in the
corridor, with an additional round-trip available on the long-
distance Empire Builder.  In addition to Milwaukee and Chicago,
Hiawatha Service trains stop at Sturtevant (near Racine) and
Glenview, Illinois.

The project achieved great success as ridership increased by over
50% in the first twelve months of expanded service.  Since then,
ridership and service frequencies have continued to grow in the
corridor.  At present, the corridor is served by more trains than
all but two corridors in the Amtrak system (Washington D.C.-Boston
and Los Angeles-San Diego).  Approximately 410,000 passenger trips
were made on the Hiawatha Service to and from Wisconsin in 1993.

Other Amtrak service in Wisconsin
Aside from the Chicago-Milwaukee Hiawatha Service, Amtrak provides
service over one other route through Wisconsin.  Amtrak's Empire
Builder serves a route from Chicago to Seattle and Portland.  Full
dining service and sleeping cars are some of the accommodations on
this long-     

Passenger rail -- Page 4





Click HERE for graphic.


distance train.  Six Wisconsin stations are served by the  Empire
Builder: Milwaukee, Columbus, Portage, Wisconsin Dells, Tomah and
La Crosse.

About 63,000 passenger-trips on the Empire Builder originated or
terminated during 1993 at the six stations in Wisconsin (excluding
passengers solely in the Chicago-Milwaukee corridor. Over the past
several years, passenger activity to and from these stations has
remained fairly stable as the train service has not varied.

                                            Passenger rail -- Page 5





The route of the  Empire Builder also provides the only passenger
rail service in the Chicago-Twin Cities corridor.  Although not
operated as an exclusive corridor service, about 122,000 passenger-
trips were made within the Chicago-Twin Cities corridor (excluding
passengers solely in the Chicago-Milwaukee corridor) in 1993. 
However, it is important to note that only one-third of these
corridor trips involved arrivals or departures at Wisconsin
stations.

IN all, Amtrak carried over 470,000 passenger-trips to or from
Wisconsin in 19093.  This figure the highest total since 1976, with
the increase primarily due to the  Hiawatha Service
expansion. However, total passenger-miles from past years are
probably higher than for 1993, since the ridership in the short-
distance Chicago-Milwaukee corridor was not as dominant as it is
today.  Figure 2 provides Wisconsin Amtrak ridership for the past
20 years.


Click HERE for graphic.


Recent studies of service expansion/enhancement

In the past few years, before the advent of Translinks 21, WisDOT
has undertaken a number of studies for expansion of passenger rail
service, or enhancement to existing service.  These studies are
described briefly here.  Translinks 21 uses the results of these
studies in analysis of future alternative scenarios for the
passenger rail system.

Amtrak extensions

IN a publication released in January of 1993, WisDOT recommended
extension of Amtrak's  Hiawatha Service to service corridors
extending to Green Bay and to Madison.  The services would be
direct extensions of the Hiawatha Service, thus providing same-
train service directly into Chicago's Union Station. Trains would
operate at conventional Amtrak speeds (top speeds of 79 MPH, about
50 MPH average). Combined, the proposed extensions would connect
Amtrak to a new market area with a population of over 1.5 million,
and generate about 255,000 total passenger-trips each year.

Implementation of services would require an estimated $75 million
for track improvements and equipment acquisition (1992 dollars). 
In addition, funding for stations construction and/or
rehabilitation would be required, and an annual subsidy would be
needed.

Passenger rail -- Page 6





The State of Wisconsin has approved $50 million in bonding
authority for track improvements for the two extensions.  However,
Amtrak lacks sufficient funding for its share of capital costs and
for annual operating support.  Without this funding, service to
Green Bay or Madison cannot be implemented under present state
policy.

High speed rail studies

In May of 1991, the Tri-State Study of high speed rail was
concluded.  This was an effort by the states of Illinois, Minnesota
and Wisconsin which analyzed several options for creation of a high
speed rail service between Chicago and the Twin Cities, through
Wisconsin.  The report findings include the following:

    A southern corridor (roughly the same as the Empire Builder)
     is the preferred route.

    Technology using 125 MPH as top speeds is preferable for a
     variety of reasons.
     
    A more detailed feasibility study is needed to identify a
     preferred implementation approach.

As an outgrowth of the Tri-State Study, the Chicago-Milwaukee Rail
Corridor Study (the ChiMil Study ) was initiated in July of 1992,
cosponsored by Wisconsin and Illinois.  Scheduled for completion in
1994, the primary focus of the Chi-Mil Study is to identify
passenger rail options in the corridor which:

    Significantly relieve automobile travel and congestion;

    Contribute to improvements in air quality; and

    Can be implemented within the decade on an incremental basis.

Federal recognition
A key to eventual implementation of high speed rail services in the
Chicago-Milwaukee corridor is the recognition provided to the
corridor by the federal government.  In 1992, Wisconsin applied for
recognition of the corridor through Section 1010 of the Internodal
Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA).  Section
1010 provides funding for elimination of grade crossing hazards in
high speed rail corridors.

Late in 1992, the Chicago-Milwaukee, Chicago-St. Louis and Chicago-
Detroit corridors were designated by the U.S. DOT as one of five
high speed rail systems throughout the nation under Section 1010. 
This designation will provide very limited initial funding for
improvements in the corridor, and also gives national recognition
to the high speed rail planning efforts of Wisconsin and the other
states in the system.

                                            Passenger rail -- Page 7





2. PLANNING ACTIVITIES UNDER TRANSLINKS 21

Passenger rail analysis under Translinks 21

Translinks 21 is a comprehensive transportation planning process
being undertaken by WisDOT, which looks at the evolving
transportation needs of our state.  A multimodal network of
intercity alternatives has been developed through study of
transportation trends and statistics, and also from analysis of key
socioeconomic trends, such as population and employment
characteristics.  Other factors which could affect transportation
in the future, such as environmental impacts and transportation
costs, also form part of the basic Translinks 21 analysis.

Passenger rail data collection
A great deal of information on the present passenger rail system
has been obtained for the intercity passenger planning component of
Translinks 21.  This data included the following efforts:

    Amtrak train passenger counts for the Chicago-Milwaukee
     corridor and the Empire Builder corridor were obtained through
     Amtrak records.

    WisDOT conducted a survey of Empire Builder passengers in May
     of 1993.  This survey revealed socioeconomic characteristics
     of riders, origin-destination patterns, and other useful
     information (a summary of the survey results is available).

    The Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission
     (SEWRPC) conducted a survey of Hiawatha Service passengers in
     1991.  This data was also used in passenger planning.

This data has helped WisDOT and a contracted consultant team to
develop a multimodal, intercity passenger model which can be used
to replicate existing trips and forecast future trips on all
intercity passenger transportation modes in the state.  Other
surveys used to support this model include bus, air, and highway
surveys conducted in past years by WisDOT and SEWRPC.

One other key element in building this model was a preference
survey of all intercity travel modes -- including passenger rail --
sponsored by WisDOT in the fall of 1993.  A preference survey asks
respondents to make choices based on hypothetical travel scenarios,
whereas a travel survey simply asks for factual information about
the trip the traveler is making at present.

Passenger rail network analysis
WisDOT and the consultant team also developed a statewide network
of passenger rail services to evaluate with the travel forecasting
model.  In addition to the passenger modelling, the consultant team
prepared cost estimates of capital and operating requirements for
the proposed services.

The cost estimates presented later in the report provide a rough
estimate of the financial requirements of implementing certain
passenger rail services.  A more detailed evaluation of each
individual service would be needed to provide more precise cost
figures.

Passenger rail -- Page 8





Benefits and costs of passenger rail

In analyzing the rail system alternatives, it is important to
understand the role of passenger rail services in a statewide
multimodal network.  While there are benefits to be derived from
passenger rail service expansion, there are issues of cost to
consider as well.

Benefits of passenger rail
Among the benefits of various passenger rail services are these:

    Passenger rail service has the potential to provide a quality
     transportation service as an alternative to automobile travel. 
     It serves a niche market, generally offering fares, amenities
     and service levels higher than for intercity bus, but lower
     than for commercial air travel.

    Short to medium distance passenger rail services have been
     shown to serve passengers who are travelling for either
     business or pleasure.  Travelers are offered a time-
     competitive alternative which allows for use of the trip time
     for reading, working, sleeping or socializing.  These services
     can generate business and tourist related activity in the
     regions served.

    Long distance rail services are generally dominated by
     recreational travelers, and thus can generate significant
     benefits for the recreation/tourism industries in the
     communities they serve.

    High speed rail can provide trip times superior to automobile
     travel, and times competitive with air services (over short to
     medium distances).  High speed rail can be a preferred choice
     for business travel, thus generating a variety of economic
     development benefits in communities served.

    Rail service is also somewhat unique among intercity
     transportation modes in its ability to serve the central
     downtown areas of cities.  Rail provides direct access into
     the heart of downtown Milwaukee, Chicago and other Midwestern
     cities.  This can be an advantage over other modes, as access
     to downtown areas often requires using congested highways
     (either from an airport, by riding a bus, or by driving a
     car).

It is of some importance to note that intercity rail services --
those targeted to city-to-city travel over some distance -- do not
provide significant benefits through diversion of automobiles from
highways.  A great deal of highway traffic, especially in congested
urban areas, is generated by shorter trips within a local area. 
Intercity rail services cannot compete for these trips.

WisDOT analyses have shown that even the most optimistic passenger
rail ridership forecasts for key intercity services will divert
only 5-6% of the total auto traffic from parallel highways.  In
fact, implementing new rail service could actually produce more
highway traffic in a localized area, as people use their
automobiles to drive to and from the rail station.

Costs and other impacts
Passenger rail services -- whether through conventional or high
speed technologies -- can offer the

                                            Passenger rail -- Page 9





aforementioned benefits, but there are other issues to be
considered.  Among these are the costs and potential impacts of the
systems:

    The actual monetary costs of implementing passenger rail
     services are high in relation to many of the actions proposed
     for other non-highway modes in the Translinks 21 alternatives. 
     In most cases, tracks and right-of-way will need to be
     improved to allow higher operating speeds for passenger
     trains.  The trains themselves will need to be purchased.  And
     in almost all foreseeable service alternatives, an operating
     subsidy will need to be provided.

    The costs for implementing these services can be increased if
     capacity issues require further improvements to the rail
     infrastructure.  While much of Wisconsin's rail system has
     excess capacity, many key passenger lines are slated for what
     are currently the busiest freight lines.  In some cases,
     significant costs will be required to allow for safe and
     efficient interaction of the freight and passenger trains.

    An increase in train operations increases the impacts on
     communities.  There may be more delays at rail-highway grade
     crossings due to increased train traffic.  Noise of train
     operations will increase.  While improvements in operating
     speed and the rail infrastructure can minimize these impacts -
     - since train volumes may be minimal in some cases -- these
     are still issues to be considered.

    It is not expected that conventional rail services would have
     a significant impact on competing commercial modes, namely air
     and bus services, but some limited diversion of passengers may
     occur.  For high speed rail services, the potential of
     passenger diversion from commercial air service may increase.

Passenger rail --Page 10





               3. TRANSLINKS 21 ALTERNATIVE SCENARIOS

Through the analysis of Translinks 21, four alternative scenarios
have been developed:

    Alternative #1: Maintaining current policies and programs --
     this alternative essentially continues current state programs
     at current funding levels.

    Alternative #2: Taking new directions with current funding --
     this alternative shifts a certain portion of transportation
     funds from their current allocation for the highway program to
     other modal programs, including for intercity public
     transportation.  Limited new revenues are also generated.

    Alternative #3: Financing better transportation and more
     choices -- under this option, new revenue is generated to
     allow expansion of both highway and non-highway programs.

    Alternative #4: Paying for premium mobility -- for this final
     alternative, even more new revenue is generated in order to
     develop a broader array of highway and non-highway
     transportation services in Wisconsin.

Passenger rail service options

Each of these alternatives presents different levels of service and
areas of coverage of the passenger rail system, thereby offering
different levels of benefits and requiring a range of costs.  The
various actions presented in these alternatives include the
following kinds of service options:

    Conventional rail, operating at maximum speeds of 79 MPH,
     generally provides a service time-competitive with personal
     auto travel.  Amenities include regular coach seating, light
     food service and overhead luggage racks.  For certain services
     of longer distance, sleeping compartments may be considered.

    High speed rail, operating at speeds of 125 MPH or higher,
     will usually provide trip times superior to auto travel, and
     may even approach time competition with commercial air
     service.  A higher degree of services and amenities may
     offered, as the trains themselves will almost certainly be
     newly manufactured.

    Feeder bus services are proposed in these alternatives as a
     low-cost, incremental approach to building rail services. 
     Feeder buses would provide dedicated, coordinated connecting
     service to trains at key locations.  Feeder buses provide a
     low-cost alternative where potential markets for rail may need
     to be developed over time, or where rail tracks do not exist.

Implementation years
     The alternative services presented are given proposed dates of
implementation, generally following

                                          Passenger rail -- Page 11 





five or ten year increments starting in 1995.  The Translinks 21
planning horizon extends 25 years to the year 2020.  This time
spacing has ramifications on the cost estimates, as described
below.

Costs and cost sharing

Each of the descriptions of the proposed services includes
estimates of capital costs (one-time expenditures needed to
implement the service, such as track improvement or equipment
purchase) and annual operating support.  In order to determine the
total costs for a service, the annual costs are multiplied by the
number of years, and then added to the one-time costs.  For
example, a service starting in the year 2000 would have 20 years
worth of operating support which should be added to the one-time
costs incurred when the service was started.

In order to review a realistic range of possibilities for future
passenger rail service options, the alternatives also present each
option in the context of potential cost sharing arrangements which
may include the federal government (or Amtrak) and the states of
Illinois or Minnesota.  In general, cost sharing assumptions for
conventional rail services are roughly based on existing
Amtrak/state cost sharing policies.  Cost sharing for high speed
rail are simple assumptions of potential federal/state shares.

The summary of costs at the end of each scenario description also
indicates the existing state funds available for passenger rail. 
This includes the current Chicago-Milwaukee program allocation (as
a total for the 25-year time period) as well as the $50 million in
bonding authority for the Green Bay and Madison extensions.

Following the text description of the alternatives are two sets of
attachments: Attachments A-1 and A-2, providing maps of the
proposed services; and Attachment B, providing a one-page summary
of the alternatives.

Alternative #1: Maintaining current policies and programs

Under this alternative, the state's program for financial support
of Amtrak's Hiawatha Service would continue at present funding
levels and present cost sharing arrangements.  For the current
fiscal year, $700,000 has been appropriated by Wisconsin for this
service support, and it is assumed that this funding would
continue, possibly with adjustments being made for inflation. 
Amtrak and the state of Illinois also contribute to this service,
and their cost shares would also have to be maintained.

It is worth noting that ridership and revenues generated by the
Hiawatha Service have been increasing in the past five years, and
there is the potential for the actual funds expended to support the
service to decrease over time.  However, it is impossible to
accurately predict this circumstance, and the present $700,000
appropriation will be used in this alternative.  Over a 25-year
time horizon, this yields a total Wisconsin cost of $17.5 million,
representing no increase in current state funding requirements.

Passenger rail -- Page 12





Amtrak's Empire Builder trains do not receive any state financial
support.  It is expected that Amtrak would maintain present service
levels on these trains in the future.

Alternative #2: Taking new directions with current funding

For Alternative #2, a redirection of existing transportation
funding would occur, decreasing the allocation towards highway
capacity projects, and shifting to non-highway modes.  Alternative
#2 would continue the state support for the Hiawatha Service at
$700,000 annually.  However, around the year 2000, this service
would be replaced by high speed rail (described below).  Therefore,
Wisconsin cost for this service option yields a 5-year total of
$3.5 million.

Conventional rail to Green Bay and Madison
Extensions of Amtrak service to Madison and Green Bay would occur
around 2000.  This would bring the benefits of rail service to the
state's second and third largest metropolitan areas, providing
quality alternatives for intercity travel.  Unlike present policy
requiring a federal cost share, Wisconsin would be responsible for
100% of all costs.  The cost breakdown is as follows:

    For the Green Bay extension, $40.4 million is required for
     one-time capital, and $3.5 million is required for annual
     operating support.  The total funds required will depend on
     the implementation date, but an estimated total cost of $96
     million is assumed for Translinks 21.

    For the Madison extension, $34.0 million is required for one-
     time capital, and $1.4 million is required for annual
     operating support.  Without a solid implementation year,
     Translinks 21 assumes a total estimated cost of $57 million
     for this extension.

Chicago-Milwaukee high speed rail
In the year 2000, high speed rail would be implemented in the
Chicago-Milwaukee corridor.  With maximum speeds of 125 MPH and up
to 16 round-trips each day, this service would provide an
attractive transportation option in Wisconsin's busiest intercity
corridor.

Under Alternative #2, this service would be implemented through a
50150 cost sharing arrangement between the states of Wisconsin and
Illinois.  For Wisconsin's 50% share, about $250 million in one-
time capital costs would be required for start-up.  Operating
support would require an estimated $750,000 annually from Wisconsin
as its 50% share.  Over the 20-year planning period, therefore, the
total Wisconsin cost is $265.0 million.

Chicago-Milwaukee-Twin Cities conventional rail
At the same time, the state would expand conventional rail service
in the Chicago-Milwaukee Twin Cities corridor, over the present
Empire Builder route.  The proposal is to add two daily round-trips
exclusively within the corridor, as opposed to the Empire Builder
which serves the corridor only as part of a long-distance route. 
These trains may allow for rail ridership to develop in a busy
intercity corridor which does not presently have a true rail
corridor service.

                                           Passenger rail -- Page 13





It is expected that these trains would run at high speed in the
Chicago-Milwaukee corridor, as would the Green Bay and Madison
trains.  However, the full extent of operational coordination
between trains and corridor speeds has not been determined.  If
these services are to be implemented, a thorough operational study
must be performed to determine these and other considerations.

Estimated costs for the Chicago-Twin Cities enhancement include $42
million in capital costs which includes acquiring train sets and
undertaking corridor improvements to provide sufficient capacity to
accommodate the additional trains.  A rough estimate of $5.0
million for annual operating support is used for this service.  A
cost sharing arrangement is assumed which requires Wisconsin to pay
75% of costs, with the state of Minnesota paying 25% of costs.  The
resulting total Wisconsin costs over the 20-year timeframe is
$106.5 million.

Feeder bus services

Feeder bus services would also be instituted in the year 2000 to
provide direct, integrated connections into the passenger rail
system.  The extent to which the bus and rail operations would be
integrated is not yet determined (e.g., through-luggage, joint
ticketing, etc.), but the basis of operations is for the buses to
serve almost exclusively as feeders to trains.  Feeder bus service
would be instituted in the following corridors which have a
potential for rail ridership, but do not justify full rail service
under this alternative:

    Madison - Platteville - Dubuque, over U.S. Highway 151; 
    Milwaukee - Sheboygan - Manitowoc, using Interstate 43;
    Appleton - Stevens Point - Wausau - Rhinelander, using U.S.
     Highways 10, 51 and 8; and
    Tomah - Eau Claire - Superior, over Interstate 94 and U.S.
     Highway 53.

For these four services, an estimated total of $5 million would be
required for capital costs (stations and buses) and $600,000
annually would be required for operating support.  It is assumed
that Wisconsin would bear the full costs for both capital expenses
and operational support.  Therefore, the total state cost has been
estimated at $17.0 million for the 20-year timeframe.

Total Wisconsin costs for Alternative #2

Over the complete 25-year timeframe, the total amount expended by
Wisconsin under this alternative is estimated to be about $545
million.  The state's current funds available over the 25-year
period is $67.5 million.  Therefore, the additional 25-year funding
required totals $477.5 million.

Alternative #3: Financing better transportation and more choices

Translinks 21 Alternative #3 assumes enhancements to the passenger
rail system through extension to new areas, expansion of existing
service and provision of access to the rail system through

Passenger rail -- Page 14





dedicated feeder bus services.  Alternative #3 includes many of the
service options described in Alternative #2, but at different cost
sharing arrangements.

Chicago-Milwaukee conventional service
Alternative #3 would continue the state support for the expanded
Hiawatha Service at $700,000 annually.  As in Alternative #2, the
service would continue at conventional speeds through the year
2000, when high speed rail would be implemented in the corridor. 
Therefore, Wisconsin's total cost on a 5-year timeframe is about
$3.5 million.

Chicago-Milwaukee high speed rail
In the year 2000, high speed rail would be implemented in the
Chicago-Milwaukee corridor.  With maximum speeds of 125 MPH and up
to 16 round-trips each day, this service would provide an
attractive transportation option in Wisconsin's busiest intercity
corridor.

Under Alternative #3, this service would be implemented through a
50/25/25 cost sharing arrangement (both capital and operating
costs) between the federal government (50%) and the states of
Wisconsin and Illinois.  For Wisconsin's 25 % share, about $125
million in one-time capital costs would be required for start-up. 
Operating support would require an estimated $375,000 annually from
Wisconsin.  Over the 20-year planning period, therefore, the total
Wisconsin cost is $132.5 million.

Conventional rail to Green Bay and Madison
The proposed extensions of conventional rail service to Green Bay
and Madison would proceed in the year 2000, with an expectation of
cost sharing by the federal government.  With a state cost share of
65 % applied to these services over a 20-year period, the total
Wisconsin costs for the Green Bay and Madison extensions are $71.8
and $40.3 million, respectively.

Chicago-Milwaukee-Twin Cities conventional rail
At the same time, the state would expand conventional rail service
in the Chicago-Milwaukee Twin Cities corridor as per Alternative
#2.  However, the trains would be limited to conventional speeds in
the Chicago-Milwaukee corridor.  The costs and cost sharing
arrangements for this service are as described in Alternative #2,
with the resulting total Wisconsin costs over the 20 year timeframe
estimated at $106.5 million.

Again, Translinks 21 does not include a full operational plan for
the interaction between trains in the Chicago-Milwaukee high speed
rail corridor and the connecting conventional rail corridors to the
Twin Cities, Madison and Green Bay.

Feeder bus services

The four feeder bus services described in Alternative #2 would be
included in Alternative #3 in the year 2000.  With Wisconsin again
providing 100% of the capital costs and operating support, the 20-
year total Wisconsin cost is estimated to be $17.0 million.

                                           Passenger rail -- Page 15





Total Wisconsin costs for Alternative #3
Over the complete 25-year timeframe, the total amount expended by
Wisconsin Alternative #3 is estimated to be about $371.5 million. 
With existing funding providing $67.5 million over the 25 years, an
additional $304 million is required from state funding to implement
these actions.

Alternative #4: Paying for premium mobility

Alternative #4 would implement a more extensive network of rail and
feeder bus services, with a special emphasis on high speed rail
service to provide fast and frequent service throughout more parts
of the state.

Conventional rail and feeder bus service
Conventional rail and feeder bus service options and cost sharing
arrangements for Alternative #4 are the same as in Alternative #3,
but may be applied over different time periods:

    Chicago-Milwaukee conventional rail is replaced by high speed
     rail in the year 2000 (described in Alternatives #2 and #3). 
     Therefore, the 5-year total cost for conventional rail in the
     corridor is $3.5 million.

    The Green Bay service has a 20-year timeframe, being
     implemented in the year 2000 with a federal cost share.  The
     20-year total Wisconsin cost for this service is estimated at
     $71.8 million.

    The Madison conventional rail extension would have a 10-year
     timeframe, being replaced in the year 2010 with high speed
     rail service from Milwaukee to the Twin Cities (described
     below).  Assuming a federal cost share of 35%, the Wisconsin
     cost share of 65 % over the 10-year period is estimated to be
     $31.2 million.

    New conventional speed local service from Chicago to the Twin
     Cities would occur in the year 2000, but would be replaced by
     high speed rail in the year 2010.  As with Alternatives #2 and
     #3, Wisconsin would assume 75% share of the costs for this
     service.  The shorter timeframe yields a 10-year total cost of
     $69.0 million.

    The feeder bus services would be implemented in the year 2000
     as described in Alternatives #2 and #3.  Again, the total
     Wisconsin 20-year cost would be about $17.0 million.

High speed rail service
In the year 2000, high speed rail would be implemented in the
Chicago-Milwaukee corridor with the same service characteristics
described in Alternative #2.  For Alternative #3, however, a
federal cost share of 50% is assumed, with the states of Wisconsin
and Illinois each contributing 25 % towards all costs.  Over the
20-year time period, therefore, the total Wisconsin cost is
estimated to be $132.5 million.

Passenger rail -- Page 16





The other high speed rail service in this alternative would occur
in the year 2010, when high speed rail would be extended from
Milwaukee to the Twin Cities.  This 125 MPH service would be routed
directly through Madison, thus replacing the conventional rail
service previously implemented.  Beyond Madison, the existing
passenger route travels through La Crosse, but an alternate route
through Eau Claire might be considered.  If this service is to be
implemented, a full analysis of the alternate route options would
need to be undertaken in the future.

The capital costs required to implement this service are estimated
to be $1.2 billion, with annual operating support roughly estimated
at $2.0 million, reflecting fairly strong demand levels. 
Translinks 21 assumes a federal cost share of 50%, with the
remainder split evenly by Wisconsin and Minnesota.  The total cost
for Wisconsin over the 10-year timeframe is about $305.0 million.

Additional conventional rail service

In the year 2010, one more expansion of service would occur in the
state to bring conventional rail to central Wisconsin.  Translinks
21 proposes implementing conventional rail service beginning in
Appleton, and running through Stevens Point and Chippewa Falls to
the Twin Cities.  At the same time, additional trains would be
added in the Milwaukee-Green Bay corridor.

The resulting service would have four round-trips between Milwaukee
and Appleton.  From Appleton to Green Bay, two round-trips would
remain in service, while the other two trains would continue on the
new route to the Twin Cities.

For the additional Green Bay trains, WisDOT estimates total capital
costs of $16.0 million to provide the required train-sets. 
Operating support is estimated to be $750,000 above the existing
levels of support.  With an assumed share of 35 % from federal
sources and 65 % from Wisconsin, and calculated over a 10-year
timeframe, the total Wisconsin cost for this service is $15.3
million.

For the Appleton-Twin Cities route, some corridor improvement will
be required, and train-sets will need to be acquired.  While the
corridor is in moderately good condition, the route is long (about
270 miles), and the resulting capital costs are high.  WisDOT
estimates total capital costs of about $405. 0 million, with total
annual operating support estimated at $4. 0 million for this new
service.  Again assuming a 65 % Wisconsin share, the 10-year total
cost is $289.3 million.

Total Wisconsin costs for Alternative #4

To achieve this extensive network of passenger rail services, the
total Wisconsin cost over the 25 year timeframe of Alternative #4
is estimated to be $934.5 million.  After the existing funding of
$67.5 million is applied, the additional state funding required
totals $867 million.

Other issues concerning the service alternatives

Although the Translinks 21 analysis has been fairly thorough for
the statewide passenger rail system, it cannot fully account for
all of the nuances of how these rail options would truly operate

                                           Passenger rail -- Page 17





and interact.  These determinations are important from a planning
perspective in terms of costs, facility and equipment requirements,
and demand forecasting.  For example, the following issues remain
unresolved:

    Can existing station facilities at Chicago, Milwaukee, and the
     Twin Cities accommodate necessary train operations (switching,
     turning, etc.)?

    How do the train sets for the various services interact; for
     example, will Chicago-Milwaukee high speed trains continue
     beyond the corridor for high speed or conventional services?
     How does this interaction affect the costs to obtain train
     sets for subsequent services?

    How does the need to change vehicles for a connecting
     service -- whether bus to train, or train to another train --
     affect the demand levels for services, as opposed to services
     without a change of equipment?

    How does the ridership from one service affect the ridership
     for other services; for example, does direct rail service to
     Stevens Point divert those riders who otherwise would have
     driven to Portage to catch a train to Chicago?

    How does increasing service to a city -- such as Green Bay or
     Madison -- affect the original operating support estimates?
     Does the per-passenger subsidy decrease? Does the total
     subsidy decrease?

    How are operating costs allocated when trains of different
     services operate in the same corridor? For instance, Madison
     could be served by local corridor trains, the Empire Builder,
     Chicago-Twin Cities trains, and Chicago-Janesville trains.

    Who would actually operate the trains? Would it be Amtrak, the
     state, or a newly created interstate authority?

These and other questions can only be answered through more
complete analysis of each service.  However, Translinks 21 has
provided these four alternative scenarios, along with their
respective cost and operational assumptions, as broad overview of
passenger rail options for the state.  These service-related issues
cannot be fully analyzed without more exhaustive feasibility
analyses for each service.

Passenger rail -- Page 18





Click HERE for graphic.





Click HERE for graphic.





Click HERE for graphic.





                                                           WISCONSIN
                                                       TRANSLINKS 21




FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT TRANSLINKS 21, CONTACT:
DANIEL YEH
MULTIMODAL PLANNING UNIT
WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
PO BOX 7913
MADISON, WI 53707-7913

608/267-5127

FOR ADDITIONAL COPIES, CALL:
OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS, 608/266-3581



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