The department shall administer a rail passenger service assistance and promotion program and may do any of the following:
Conduct financial and technical planning for rail passenger service in this state and evaluate existing rail passenger service.
Contract with Amtrak, railroads or other persons to provide rail passenger service or support services, equipment, station improvements, passenger platforms, equipment maintenance shops, parking areas or other support facilities for rail passenger service. The contract may provide for the sale or lease of any equipment or facilities acquired by the department under par. (g)
. Notwithstanding s. 16.75 (1)
, the department may contract under this paragraph without competitive bidding or competitive sealed proposals.
Consult with other states and with local governmental units regarding service levels for additional rail passenger service in this state.
Monitor the quality of rail passenger service in this state.
Conduct or contract for marketing studies and promotional activities to increase rail passenger service ridership in this state, to identify potential riders and to educate the public about the availability and advantages of rail passenger service.
Apply for and accept federal funds for rail passenger service.
Acquire equipment or facilities for the purpose of providing rail passenger service or support services for rail passenger service.
Enter into agreements with other states to assist or promote rail passenger service.
Rail passenger route development. 85.061(1)
In this section, "Amtrak" means the national railroad passenger corporation.
(2) Legislative findings.
The legislature finds that private capital and local governmental financial and technical resources are unable to fully meet the transportation needs of all citizens. It is determined that the program authorized under this section, including the improvement of the property or facilities of a railroad, whether publicly or privately owned, is a legitimate governmental function serving proper public purposes.
The department shall administer a rail passenger route development program. From the appropriation under s. 20.866 (2) (up)
, the department may fund any of the following:
Capital costs related to Amtrak service extension routes or other rail service routes between the cities of Milwaukee and Madison, between the cities of Milwaukee and Green Bay, between the cities of Milwaukee and Chicago, between the cities of Madison and Eau Claire, and between the cities of Madison and La Crosse. Any route between the cities of Milwaukee and Green Bay funded under the program shall provide service to population centers along the route in a manner that makes the route most economically feasible.
Railroad track or rail passenger station improvements related to an Amtrak service extension route between the city of Milwaukee and Waukesha County, or the establishment of commuter rail service between these jurisdictions.
Rail passenger station improvements related to an existing rail passenger service.
The department may not use any proceeds from the bond issue authorized under s. 20.866 (2) (up)
unless the joint committee on finance approves the use of the proceeds and, with respect to a route under par. (a) 1.
, the department submits evidence to the joint committee on finance that Amtrak or the applicable railroad has agreed to provide rail passenger service on that route. The department may contract with Amtrak, railroads or other persons to perform the activities under the program.
Major transit capital improvement projects. 85.062(1)(1)
In this section, "major transit capital improvement project" means a project that has a total cost of more than $5,000,000 and which involves any of the following:
Construction of a separate roadway designated for use by buses or other high-occupancy modes of travel.
Initial construction or expansion of a light rail transit system.
Initial construction or expansion of a commuter rail transit system. In this paragraph, "commuter rail" has the meaning given in s. 85.064 (1) (a)
No major transit capital improvement project may be constructed using any state transportation revenues unless the major transit capital improvement project is specifically enumerated in a list under sub. (3)
. Notwithstanding s. 84.013 (4)
, a major transit capital improvement project that is enumerated under sub. (3)
may be constructed without being included in the list of major highway projects under s. 84.013 (3)
The department may proceed with construction of the following major transit capital improvement projects:
Any project resulting from the Milwaukee Downtown Transit Connector Study of the Wisconsin Center District.
Commuter rail transit system development. 85.064(1)(a)
"Commuter rail" means rail passenger service, operating primarily on a dedicated right-of-way on existing railroad tracks used for rail freight service or intercity rail passenger service between and within metropolitan and suburban areas, connecting these areas with large business or urban centers in this state or another. Commuter rail usually operates during peak travel times with limited stops and in conjunction with other transit modes as part of a regional transit system.
"Political subdivision" means any city, village, town, county, or transit commission organized under s. 59.58 (2)
or recognized under s. 66.0301
within this state.
The department shall administer a commuter rail transit system development grant program. From the appropriations under s. 20.395 (2) (ct)
, the department may award grants to political subdivisions for the development or extension of commuter rail transit systems in this state.
Upon completion of a planning study to the satisfaction of the department, any political subdivision may apply to the department for a grant for the purpose specified in par. (a)
. No grant may be awarded under this section for a project unless the project meets the eligibility criteria established by the department under sub. (3)
The amount of a grant awarded under this section shall be limited to an amount equal to 50 percent of the portion of the project cost in excess of the federal aid funding for the project or 25 percent of the total project cost, whichever is less.
The department shall prescribe the form, nature, and extent of information that shall be contained in applications for grants under this section and shall establish criteria for evaluating applications and determining eligibility for the award of grants under this section.
Urban rail line relocations. 85.065(1)(a)(a)
Any county, city, village, town or combination thereof may apply to the department for a study of the cost and benefits of the location and form of railroad lines, associated facilities, and railroad operations within an urban area. Upon receiving such application, the department may undertake or contract for a study to determine the extent to which the existing location of such lines, facilities and operations serves the public interests in:
Reliable, economical and expeditious commercial transportation;
Safe and orderly movement of pedestrian and vehicular traffic;
Coordinated and environmentally sound planning for development or preservation of the area; and
The study shall be performed in consultation with the applicant and other interested parties and shall result in a report describing alternatives to the existing location and form of such railroad lines, facilities and operations which assesses each alternative in light of those criteria.
History: 1977 c. 29
Transit safety oversight program. 85.066(1)
In this section, "rail fixed guideway transportation system" means a public transportation system being designed, engineered, constructed, or operated that is intended to operate upon a fixed guideway, including a railway, and that is not subject to regulation by the federal railroad administration.
(2) Program and funding.
The department shall develop and administer a transit safety oversight program. Under the program, the department may oversee, enforce, investigate, and audit all safety aspects of rail fixed guideway transportation systems.
(3) Counties containing a first class city.
A county containing a 1st class city may not incur any direct or indirect expenses, including the forfeiture of any revenue, relating to the operation of a rail fixed guideway transportation system in the 1st class city unless the expense incurred or revenue forfeited will be fully reimbursed by the 1st class city.
History: 2015 a. 55
Midwest interstate passenger rail compact.
The midwest interstate passenger rail compact is enacted into law and entered into by this state with all other states legally joining therein substantially in the following form:
PASSENGER RAIL COMPACT
The contracting states solemnly agree:
(1) Article I — Statement of Purpose.
Through joint or cooperative action, the purposes of this compact are to do all of the following:
Promote development and implementation of improvements to intercity passenger rail service in the midwest.
Coordinate interaction among elected state officials in the midwest and their designees on passenger rail issues.
Promote development and implementation of long-range plans for high-speed passenger rail service in the midwest and among other regions of the United States.
Work with the public and private sectors at the federal, state, and local levels to ensure coordination among the various entities having an interest in passenger rail service and to promote interests of the midwestern region regarding passenger rail.
Support efforts of transportation agencies that are involved in developing and implementing passenger rail service in the midwest.
(2) Article II — Establishment of the Commission.
To further the purposes of this compact, a midwest interstate passenger rail commission, hereinafter called "the commission," is created to carry out the duties specified in this compact.
(3) Article III — Commission Membership. 85.067(3)(a)(a)
The commission shall consist of 4 resident members of each state as follows:
The governor or the governor's designee who shall serve during the term of office of the governor, or until a successor is named;
Two legislators, one from each house (or 2 legislators from any unicameral legislature), who shall serve 2-year terms, or until successors are appointed, and who shall be appointed by the appropriate appointing authority in each house of the legislature; and
One member of the private sector who shall be appointed by the governor and shall serve during the tenure of office of the governor, or until a successor is named.
All vacancies shall be filled in accordance with the laws of the appointing states. Any commissioner appointed to fill a vacancy shall serve until the end of the incomplete term. Each member state shall have equal voting privileges, as determined by the bylaws of the commission.
The manner of appointment of commission members, terms of office consistent with the terms of this compact, provisions for removal and suspension, and manner of appointment to fill vacancies shall be determined by each party state under its laws, but each commissioner shall be a resident of the state of appointment.
All members of the commission shall serve without compensation from the commission.
(4) Article IV — Powers and Duties of the Commission. 85.067(4)(a)1.
Advocate for the funding and authorization necessary to make passenger rail improvements a reality for the region.
Identify and seek to develop ways that states can form partnerships, including with rail industry and labor, to implement improved passenger rail service in the region.
Seek development of a long-term, interstate plan for high-speed passenger rail service implementation.
Cooperate with other agencies, regions, and entities to ensure that the midwest is adequately represented and integrated into national plans for passenger rail development.
Adopt bylaws governing the activities and procedures of the commission, and addressing, among other subjects, the powers and duties of officers, the voting rights of members of the commission, voting procedures, commission business, and any other purposes necessary to fulfill the duties of the commission.
Expend such funds as required to carry out the powers and duties of the commission.
Report on the activities of the commission to the legislatures and governors of the member compacting states on an annual basis.
In addition to its exercise of the duties specified in par. (a)
, the commission is empowered to:
Provide multistate advocacy necessary to implement passenger rail systems or plans, as approved by the commission.
Work with local elected officials, economic development planning organizations, and similar entities to raise the visibility of passenger rail service benefits and needs.
Educate other state officials, federal agencies, other elected officials, and the public on the advantages of passenger rail as an integral part of an intermodal transportation system in the region.
Work with federal agency officials and members of congress to ensure the funding and authorization necessary to develop a long-term, interstate plan for high-speed passenger rail service implementation.
If requested by each state participating in a particular project and under the terms of a formal agreement approved by the participating states and the commission, implement or provide oversight for specific rail projects.