The idea of establishing a regional commuter rail system has been suggested from time to time in letters to the editor. State government and 18 counties jointly own railroad track across southern Wisconsin, including rail lines serving Madison and Janesville, plus tracks connecting those two cities.
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That said, I need to remind supporters of a passenger rail system that the Wisconsin and Southern Railroad has priority access. Also, existing tracks might need to be upgraded to accommodate two-way traffic and the faster speed of passenger trains. This would come at the public expense.
Nonetheless, the presence of multi-branch, state-owned railroad tracks strengthens the argument for creating commuter rail service.
Bruce McClellin, Madison
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