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Mayor Genrich speaks on potential of Amtrak service to Green Bay

Train tracks in downtown Green Bay on May 18, 2022. (WLUK/Mike Gard)
Train tracks in downtown Green Bay on May 18, 2022. (WLUK/Mike Gard)
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(WLUK) -- It's been decades since there's been a rail service connecting to and from Green Bay.

But city officials are still hoping a rail service can expand to serve Wisconsinites.

Many are hoping that sometime in the near future, rail service from Milwaukee to Green Bay will be available.

On a Citizen Action of Wisconsin zoom call, Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich said Amtrak has a proposal to expand passenger rail service to Green Bay for the first time in 50 years.

"There's an ongoing ridership study that's soon to be wrapped up so we're really optimistic about what those results will indicate," said Genrich.

In the past there's been a lack of funding to make the expansion possible.

But the investment of $66 billion for rail and Amtrak from the bipartisan infrastructure law offers a unique opportunity.

Genrich says the service could serve over half of Wisconsin's population.

And many employers could see good things come from it as well.

"Just from the city of Fond du Lac to Green Bay, there's a million people who could be impacted by this service," Genrich said. "A million residents, thousands upon thousands of employers who could benefit from this additonal mode of transportation."

In downtown Green Bay, Scott Ronsmans hopes it comes to fruition.

He says with no idea how long high gas prices will stay, another method of transportation should be welcomed.

"Give people the opportunity to travel back and forth. I think it's a great way to travel," said Ronsmans. "When I was a kid my parents took me on the train all the time and I thought it was terrific."

White House Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu says the mayor's thought process is in line with the infrastructure law.

Even mentioning President Biden's love of trains.

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"He is very interested in making sure that Amtrak takes that $66 billion that they have and make sure they use the idea of connecting people," said Landrieu. "And giving them an option instead of driving cars on highways, that helps economies and ties cities together."

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