contributed….(Madison) Sauk County area legislators Ed Brooks and Fred Clark are pleased with last week’s announcement that funds to purchase the Reedsburg-Madison rail line will be included in the 2013-2014 state budget.  “Representative Clark and I have worked very hard to bring this issue to the forefront,” said Rep. Brooks. “Sauk County, local municipalities, and area job creators have been the most outspoken advocates for this purchase – and it’s their partnership that got this done.”  The 70 mile stretch of track between Madison and Reedsburg has a heavy economic impact on the region, with nearly 10,000 jobs in Sauk and Dane Counties associated with the line.  “Over 5,000 Sauk County jobs are associated with the Reedsburg-Madison rail corridor,” said Rep. Clark. “Seneca Foods, R.R. Donnelly and Sons, Flambeau Plastics, and many other local job creators utilize freight rail. This purchase demonstrates our commitment to our local businesses. Allowing Wisconsin & Southern to continue to lease this line under fair terms for taxpayers will benefit both the Sauk County business community and it residents.”

In addition to preserving the main rail line, this purchase will help assure the development of new recreational trails on unused rail corridors – a development praised by Rep. Clark:  “Not only are we being responsible to local businesses, we’re also creating recreational opportunities that will encourage tourism. It’s a winning proposition all around.”  Added Brooks: “This budget item shows what can happen when people work together – Republicans and Democrats, state and local governments, and the legislature and business owners. It’s a good thing to see.”