Governor’s Office: We have no records regarding Oconomowoc train station decision

September 8, 2010 For Immediate Release

[Madison, Wisc..] Governor Jim Doyle’s office has no records relating to the decision to scrap plans to build a train station in Oconomowoc, as all eyes now turn to the Department of Transportation for answers.

“This keeps getting more and more interesting,” said Brett Healy, President of the John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy.

The MacIver Institute 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 the day the announcement was made, The MacIver Institute sent identical Open Records requests to the Governor and the Secretary of the Department of Transportation.

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.

Today, MacIver received a response from Susan Crawford, Governor Doyle’s chief legal counsel, dated September 7, 2010. In it, she wrote:

We conducted a search for records related to your request and found no responsive records in the custody of the Governor’s Office.

The MacIver Institute has yet to receive a response from the Department of Transportation.

“This is the most controversial public works project in our state’s history and one of Governor Doyle’s top remaining priorities as he prepares to leave office but he wasn’t notified of a dramatic change to suddenly drop Oconomowoc as a station location?” said Healy. “Common sense would suggest the Governor’s staff would be in constant contact with the professionals over at DOT as they try to fast-track this project before the Governor hands over the reins to his successor.”

Healy said he doesn’t understand the reason the DOT is taking so long to comply with a simple request.

“All the public wants to know is why the DOT decided to kick Oconomowoc out, who made that decision and was it retribution for local officials asking tough questions about the overall cost of the project?” said Healy.