Wisconsin’s taxpayer-funded trains are entering service — but in Nigeria, not Wisconsin

Milwaukee-made trains started service last week, but they won’t be connecting Wisconsin to Minnesota as originally planned. Instead, these trains are servicing Lagos, Nigeria.

In 2010, Scott Walker, then the Republican governor-elect, turned down an $823 million federal grant to expand Amtrak into Madison, the state’s capital, and extend service to Minneapolis. His predecessor, Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle, ordered the trains in 2009 after securing the contracts and federal funds that Walker later refused. Regardless of the contract refusal, the state still needed to pay for the assembled trains.

Talgo, the company that assembled the trains in Milwaukee, sued the state in 2012 because the trains it completed building were sitting in storage. Wisconsin settled the lawsuit with Talgo, which cost the state $59 million. In 2022, the Lagos transit authority purchased the trains. 

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