As I reported then, W&S was being sold to a company called Watco Transportation Services, who actually brag about how their biggest customer is Koch Industries.
Because of the questions regarding the railroad and it's corrupt president and his ties to Walker, five state representatives - Brett Hulsey, Fred Clark, Louis Molepske, Kelda Helen Roys and Terese Berceau - have written a letter to the federal government's Surface Transportation Board to delay the sale of the railroad for sixty days while certain questions regarding the sale is investigated:
This 60 day delay would give legislators and the public time to explore these questions:As Hulsey points out, the state has invested $60 million into the rail system that W&S enjoys. They need to be responsible advocates for the tax payers by making quite certain that their investment is protected.
1. Would Wisconsin farmers, manufacturers, and rail shippers be hurt by a change in a rail carrier as they were with the sale of the Wisconsin Central line?
2. Is the buyer willing and able to work with state and local officials to improve
freight and restore passenger train service to many parts of Wisconsin?
3. Could the State of Wisconsin get a better deal on the more than $60 million
taxpayers have invested in train tracks with a more open bidding process like an
RFI for sale?
4. Is this sale a political payback for illegal campaign contributions made to the
Governor by WSOR officials?
The question which should be most closely examined is the fourth one.
Given the things that we have learned about the way Walker and the Koch Brothers operate, it would be all too conceivable that the purchase of the railroad would include a large reward for Gardner. You know, for taking one for the team, so to speak.
Likewise, the sale could very well be a way for the Koch Brothers and Walker to remove a potential problem. While it's true that Gardner already admitted to the crime and was sentenced, what's to say that he doesn't know more than what he's already said? Given the amount of people from that company that have been given immunity in the Walkergate investigation, it's not hard to imagine that Gardner might know more than he's said so far.
For these reasons as well as the other ones listed in the Representatives' letter, the feds should grant the delay for at least 60 days and conduct a full investigation. It's a shame innocent people could be adversely impacted by the delay, but due to the level of corruption in this administration, it really is the only way to keep the tax payers safe.
And my commendations to the Representatives for standing up for the people of Wisconsin, as they have been doing all along.