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Wisconsin sued by Spanish trainmaker Talgo

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MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - The state government is being sued by a trainmaker which said it never got paid for two new trains it built from the existing Amtrak high-speed line from Milwaukee to Chicago.

But a DOT official claims that Talgo of Spain never built the trains to meet federal standards, including the Americans with Disabilities Act – and the units were never tested properly.

In March, majority Republicans scrapped new borrowing for a maintenance base in Milwaukee for the two trains. And Governor Scott Walker said at the time that the new units would most likely not be put into service.

Officials said the state could save $12 million a year in operating costs by not using Talgo’s trains – something the company refuted.

The state and Talgo held a mediation session last week, but it did not settle anything. Now, Talgo is asking Dane County Circuit Judge Juan Colas to approve Talgo’s decision to end its contract with the state – and to let the firm keep the trains so it can sell them to another state.

Former Democratic Governor Jim Doyle convinced lawmakers to hire Talgo with a no-bid contract to build the new trains, with the possibility of more trains for a proposed Amtrak line from Milwaukee to Madison. But the Republican Walker scrapped that extension as part of a campaign promise. 

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