Seal of Dane County County of Dane
County Executive's Office

County Executive Falk, Supv. Scott McDonell Announce New Rail Transit Proposal

August 23, 2004
Sharyn Wisniewski (608) 267-8823
County Executive

NOTE: Graphics and photos available, in Power Point, to show route map, train cars and cost breakdown. Contact Sharyn Wisniewski ( to request a slide to be emailed to you. Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk and Dane County Supervisor Scott McDonell, Madison, today announced a rail transit proposal to bring commuter train service to Dane County and ease traffic congestion in and around Madison. “This is a viable, forward-thinking proposal,” said Falk. “Imagine a train system that provides an alternative to congested auto travel for county-wide commuters and serves as a downtown streetcar for residents and the daily Madison workforce. This is it,” said Falk. McDonell, co-chair of the regional Transport 2020 Commission, said, “This gives downtown residents and workers a transportation option other than a car. At the same time, it provides fast and reliable regional commuter service consistent with the next steps of Transport 2020.” The proposal takes advantage of the County’s tradition of preserving railroad corridors to establish a Phase One commuter train system from Middleton to the near east side of Madison. The total route length is about 12 miles, including a downtown Madison loop along Wilson Street and Main Street, and including a line to the Alliant Energy Center. The transit proposal envisions utilizing new systems and technology currently in use in San Diego, California and in Camden, New Jersey, that run both in the street and on traditional train tracks, creating a seamless system from Middleton into Madison with opportunities to expand on or off the rail line, including trolley-like service. The proposal emphasizes providing park and ride opportunities in Middleton and at the Alliant Energy Center with the goal of moving Dane County’s outlying labor force efficiently into employment centers. Some of these employment centers include Hill Farms, University Hospital and Clinics, Campus, and the Capitol Square. The system also provides service to downtown attractions such as the Kohl Center, Camp Randall, the Alliant Energy Center and Monona Terrace. The total cost is $52 million for the 12-mile system, including a park and ride lot, vehicles and a maintenance facility. This compares favorably with the $57 million Portland downtown trolley system for a 2.5 mile downtown-only loop, or the new Verona Road – Highway 12 interchange project with a price tag of $65 million for 1.5 miles of roadway. Falk and McDonell will present the proposal to the Transport 2020 Transit Operations subcommittee meeting this evening. # # #