2050 DOT rail plan would connect Madison to Milwaukee 

A new 2050 Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) plan would connect Madison to Milwaukee and expand rail service to 11 state communities, Wisconsin Public Radio reports. The plan, released Tuesday, projected an increase from over 1.1 million riders in 2024 to over 3.3 million in 2050 if multiple expansion proposals are approved. 

The 2050 plan is an update to the 2030 rail plan and is a federal requirement to ensure state rail projects’ eligibility for federal funding. Public feedback on the goals established in the plan is being sought now until June 10, after which the plan will go to the Federal Railroad Authority for final acceptance. 

The state plan comes after the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provided $102 billion to improve passenger rail over the next five years. The DOT intends to continue to look for ways to improve rail service across Wisconsin. 

The growth of urban and suburban populations, coupled with the decline of rural area populations, has also increased the demand for and viability of passenger rail lines.