MILWAUKEE — Nearly half of all riders on the Hiawatha train route from Milwaukee to Chicago are on it to do business.
Our state budget plans to pour millions into that line to add more round-trips.
A record 858,000 people took the route from Milwaukee to Chicago last year. This year is expected to increase by more than 5%.
Tim Sheehy with the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce supported our state budget including $35 million in investments to Amtrak's Hiawatha line.
That includes boosting the number of round-trips each day from seven to 10. Riders we shared this with are delighted.
"You have to go to Chicago to get to many different destinations, so I'm just thankful for this," said rider Evelyn Krejcie.
Joyce Buchman added, "It's convenient it takes you right downtown."
Increasing the number of daily round trips will take time.
Wisconsin DOT has been approved for two federal grants to improve the rail line amounting to nearly $8 million. Another $95 million is still pending.
Sheehy feels it will all be worth it, once finished.
"Maybe have dinner down there and come back," she said. "It just makes the whole business environment between Milwaukee and Chicago more connected."