40 minutes ago the governor announced that a site near Monona Terrace would serve as Madison's new Amtrak station. It serves the downtown area at a drastically cheaper price than an airport station. What was not mentioned in the State Journal article was the Yahara option that everybody was talking about a while ago.
A few months ago I thought Yahara Station was in the bag. All of the "downtown advocates" were chattering about it, seeing it as the most viable alternative to the airport, which most of us were staunchly against. This was the reasoning Ald. Bryon Eagon gave in supporting Yahara.
Economic Development. The hundreds of millions of dollars in federal money is meant not only to spur investments in transportation infrastructure, but also aims at spurring economic growth.
Smart Transit. This site currently hosts something like 14 bus connections and is conveniently located on the line of potential future commuter rail.
Location. Location. Location. This about this: You're coming to Madison from Milwaukee or Chicago. Where is your destination? Probably not the Dane County Regional Airport. More likely it's the University, Capitol, hotel, performance, convention, sporting event, or business that is not immediately adjacent to the airport.
That was the abbreviated version. Most of those reasons to support Yahara would apply to Monona Terrace as well. There are a number of bus lines that serve the spot, and the train will deposit you in the most scenic area of Madison. There's something nice about coming in on a train and not having to use additional transportation to get to the city's nice part. Too often your transportation drops you off in the outskirts (airport) or in some crappy industrial area with nothing but warehouses in sight.
And apparently Monona will be cheaper than the airport. Who woulda thunk it? Update: Bryon Eagon says he's the Monona site is "gunna be great."