Governor, DOT Yet to Turn Over Records Regarding Oconomowoc Station Decision

[Madison, Wisc…] Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle and the State’s Department of Transportation have yet to respond to a simple and straightforward open records request regarding the so-called Milwaukee to Madison high speed rail line. The John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy is investigating the events surrounding the abrupt cancellation of the Oconomowoc train station.

Last month, DOT officials notified the City of Oconomowoc that their city was no longer being considered for a stop on the controversial passenger rail line.  On August 19th, MacIver filed formal records requests with Governor Doyle and Secretary of Transportation Frank Busalacchi.

“Officials in Oconomowoc began asking legitimate questions regarding the costs local taxpayers would incur to construct and maintain a train station and rather than answer those questions, the State scraps the planned station altogether,” said Brett Healy, President of the MacIver Institute. “We want to know why and there is no excuse to deny these simple requests for the truth.”

MacIver filed identical open records requests with Doyle and Busalacchi two weeks ago. Both requests were sent via US Mail. The request of Governor Doyle was also hand-delivered and Busalacchi’s was also faxed to his office.

The requests read, in part:

On behalf of the John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy this is a formal request for the following records, under the state’s Open Records Law (Wis. Stats. 19.31-39):

Copies and records of all communications from July 1, 2010 to August 19, 2010 which include you or members of your staff regarding the Oconomowoc stop on the Milwaukee to Madison rail line

This request includes, but is not limited too, documents, emails and records of phone calls (from you and members of your staff) regarding the logistics, design, development and approval of a train station in Oconomowoc.

“Local government officials, and the taxpayers they represent, have a right to ask legitimate questions regarding an expensive federal and state project that will also require significant local tax expenditures,” said Healy. “There are a lot of questions surrounding this project and DOT and the Governor’s office should quit stonewalling and provide some answers.”

Letter to Governor Doyle
Letter to Secretary Busalacchi