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WISN.com - Barrett, Moore Try To Prevent Talgo Layoffs

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Location: Milwaukee, WI

By Unknown

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett met Wednesday with workers at a local railroad facility trying to put a stop to dozens of potential layoffs.

Talgo, the company once tasked with building high-speed rail in Wisconsin, now stands to layoff 35 workers after the 2009 project was mothballed and the state removed funding for a maintenance facility in 2012.

"These are beautiful trains," mechanic James Spence said. "With this plant closing and not a chance of a maintenance facility ... I'll be out of a job."
Barrett visited the plant with Rep. Gwen Moore.

"That's insanity that the governor and state legislature are trying to take jobs out of the central city," Barrett said.

Barrett and Moore have called on the state's Joint Finance Committee to review the costs to help fund the Talgo facility.

The state's Department of Transportation had requested $2.5 million in bonds to cover costs associated with the final design of a facility to service state-owned passenger rail cars by Spanish train manufacturer Talgo for use on the Hiawatha line that runs between Milwaukee and Chicago.

The Joint Finance Committee denied the request on a party-line vote in March.
Despite Barrett's recent announcement that he will enter the race against Gov. Scott Walker in a recall election, he said Wednesday's meeting was about saving the Talgo jobs before the company served its layoff notice to the state.

"As mayor of this city, it would be a mistake for me not to talk about this because we've invested a significant amount of money," Barrett said.

Despite several references to Walker stopping the rail project, both Barrett and Moore said the meeting was focused solely on city jobs.

"The timing of this press conference is based on that legal requirement, not on the campaign for governor," Moore said. "I'm not running for governor, and I'm here."


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