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Who’s gonna pay for Foxconn’s commuter train to Chicago?

Monday, Oct 29, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* I’m thinking the company that demanded billions in public subsidies won’t be spending this cash out of its own pocket. From Crain’s Chicago Business’ manufacturing reporter…


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52 Comments
  1. - NoGifts - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 2:43 pm:

    There’s a train to Kenosha. FoxConn can contract for a shuttle bus the rest of the way.


  2. - El Conquistador - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 2:44 pm:

    Mexico. And we’ll make ‘em pay for it too.


  3. - Almost the weekend - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 2:44 pm:

    I was in Chicago meeting with the Mayor and I drew a map from Chicago to Fox Conn connected by a train. That’s how it all began.


  4. - Anonymous - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 2:45 pm:

    Mexico. And if they don’t agree then the train gets twice and long


  5. - Wensicia - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 2:45 pm:

    He should contact with Elon Musk.


  6. - Wensicia - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 2:47 pm:

    I meant connect with Elon Musk.


  7. - Henry Francis - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 2:48 pm:

    Train? How quaint.

    Hyperloop


  8. - Roman - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 2:50 pm:

    How long before they, like every other tech company, set up shop in the West Loop to attract “knowledge workers?”


  9. - Ron Burgundy - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 2:50 pm:

    –There’s a train to Kenosha. FoxConn can contract for a shuttle bus the rest of the way.–

    Yeah. Or the Amtrak Hiawatha goes within a couple miles of the place I think. Get some shuttle buses and talk to the Feds, but leave Illinois out of it.


  10. - LizPhairTax - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 2:51 pm:

    Uber Pool
    Bruce R.
    1993 VW Van


  11. - Northsider - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 2:52 pm:

    Amtrak’s Hiawatha stops in Sturtevant, WI, on Route 20.

    Of course, Foxconn could have sited their factory near an existing station and saved everyone millions that now must be spent on roads, and the megatons of new carbon that will be caused by the traffic they’ll generate (not to mention the additional sprawl that will wipe out Racine County’s rural reserves).

    They want an exclusive train? They can bloody well pay for it themselves.


  12. - Northsider - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 2:54 pm:

    Henry Francis @ 2:48: Prove it works. Then we can talk. And you might want to read up on the Chicago-New York Electric Air Line Railroad.


  13. - Angry Republican - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 2:56 pm:

    I’m confused, I thought all you big government types want everybody riding trains.


  14. - TopHatMonocle - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 2:56 pm:

    They’ve been trying to add capacity to the Hiawatha line for a while now, and Rauner slammed the breaks on it. https://capitolfax.com/2018/09/10/north-shore-nimbys-win-train-fight-during-election-year/

    There was no need for the added capacity so I always figured it was in anticipation of bringing employees to Wisconsin for the Foxconn project.


  15. - Albany Park Patriot - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 2:58 pm:

    These guys sound like Grade A stickup artists.


  16. - Norseman - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 3:00 pm:

    Walker got into the Foxconn boondoggle. Let his campaign pay for the train. He really stuck it to the people of WI. Now it’s reported that Foxconn has modified its plan to be a smaller factory.


  17. - Annoyance - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 3:02 pm:

    Foxcomm better have a hugh checkbook ready cause I don’t see anyone doing that commute on a daily basis when they can walk to work downtown


  18. - Perrid - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 3:04 pm:

    “Would imagine people would throw out the red carpet”… I don’t even live in Wisconsin and this makes me mad. $4.1 BILLION in subsidies, evidently cash instead of a tax break (which, HOW does that happen?) is not rolling out the red carpet? $230,000 per job isn’t rolling out the red carpet?

    Mr Woo can take his whining and stick it you know where.


  19. - Lionel - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 3:06 pm:

    Let Wisconsin taxpayers subsidize the infrastructure and the rest of the Foxconn costs.

    I have no problem with assisting to make it as easy as possible for those Illinois income and property tax paying workers to get there and back everyday. The goal should be to keep the employees here and let them commute to Wisconsin. The worst thing would be for the labor and brains to move across the border.


  20. - hisgirlfriday - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 3:06 pm:

    LOL didn’t Walker get elected in 2010 in large part due to his opposition to/rejection of Obama stimulus money for improving rail service from Chicago to Madison?


  21. - Ron Burgundy - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 3:11 pm:

    There are plenty of jobs right now for “knowledge workers” in Chicago. If FoxConn wants them so badly, it seems Illinois doesn’t need to subsidize it. Given a choice between living where they are in trendy parts of Chicago versus SE Wisconsin, the onus would be on FoxConn to sell them on the idea, not for Illinois to build FoxConn a train.


  22. - Annoyance - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 3:15 pm:

    Who is going to trust anything regarding this deal, 4 b and no real jobs.

    Foxconn executives now say the goal is to build “ecosystem” of buzzwords called “AI 8K+5G” with most of the manufacturing done by robots.


  23. - Anonymous - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 3:17 pm:

    Illinois did well NOT to “win” the right to shovel $4 billion to Foxconn, and should continue not to provide any public subsidies to this company.


  24. - OneMan - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 3:17 pm:

    Treating this as a serious idea for a minute (I don’t think it is).

    The distance as the crow flies between union station and their site is 94 Km, let’s use Amtrak’s Acela average speed of 135 Kph (85 mph) as a guide. That would be about a 42-minute ride (about what I have to Aurora with an express on Metra).

    So let us also assume you are a Chicago tech professional who lives in the city (odds are you are young and childless if my anecdotal observation of co-workers over 15 years of working in the city is accurate). But even those folks who have kids, in general, live at least a 20-minute trip away from Union Station (be it by bus, el or bike).

    So you are looking for a tech professional to commute from the city to the edge of civilization as it were to work for you. When there are all sorts of opportunities for technology folks are not an additional train ride away.

    Good luck with that.


  25. - Bruce Rauner - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 3:17 pm:

    In January I will be available to drive my Trashcan Van to WI. I can fit six to eight people in my van.


  26. - 17% Solution - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 3:23 pm:

    Such geniuses. Maybe they should have picked a site near a train station, ya think?


  27. - Cheryl44 - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 3:27 pm:

    First they flood Lake County, then they want their own train?


  28. - TNR - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 3:44 pm:

    @Ron Burgundy is correct.

    Can’t say I know what the Foxconn operation is going to look like, but if they are planning on hiring more engineers and programmers (“knowledge workers”) than factory workers, they’re gonna have a tough time in Racine County. There’s a reason why Motorola and even McDonald’s bailed on the exburbs and moved downtown— that’s where the knowledge workers are.


  29. - 47th Ward - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 3:45 pm:

    Mental wounds not healing. Who and what’s to blame?


  30. - Ron Burgundy - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 3:51 pm:

    TNR — Looks like the shoe is on the other foot. They are about to find out what it’s like when someone else has something you desperately want. They lost their leverage once they picked a location.


  31. - Old and In The Way - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 3:57 pm:

    Anybody who actually believes that this Foxconn facility is going to be built has not been paying attention. The final nail will hopefully be the voters of Wisconsin sending Scott Walker back to the private sector. $5 B in taxpayer subsidies and it isn’t enough, now they want rail service? Prior proper planning would have anticipated the need and located accordingly. What ever the outcome no Illinois dollars for this scam.


  32. - Lionel - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 3:59 pm:

    I didnt mention anything about Illinois paying to lay track or build a depot for Foxconn. Rather, perhaps the powers to be at Metra should be open to working with the railroads to promote express service on whatever line works best for them - UP North, MD North or NCS.
    Like it or not, we need to stop thinking parochially and come to the realization that regionally, What is the major strength and advantages that Chicago and suburbs can offer to Northern Indiana and Southeast Wisconsin companies looking for labor.


  33. - NoGifts - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 4:07 pm:

    Lionel - when Wisconsin and Northern Indiana join the Regional Transportation Authority and pay the RTA sales tax then we can talk.


  34. - Notorious RBG - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 4:11 pm:

    The price of bringing FoxConn to WI was more expensive than buying a brand new iPhone for every man woman and child in the state when it was announced. I remember reading that stat along with the fact that they announced a similar facility in Pennsylvania years ago and still haven’t broken ground there either. I wonder if this deal is going to go the same way as that one… but for anyone to think they could seriously find 9,750 “knowledge workers” in Racine WI probably shouldn’t be running an operation as large as FoxConn… unless it was all posturing to begin with.


  35. - Jibba - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 4:11 pm:

    Lionel…it is not wrong for us to consider how to profit off the situation before contributing cash to development in someone else’s state. Maybe we can make a larger ecosystem, maybe not. If Foxconn or riders pay for it all, then that is a different story. Maybe we can sponge tech or expertise from them to support the already existing businesses in the Loop, maybe not.


  36. - Joe Bidenopolous - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 4:12 pm:

    Thanks 47th! I needed some Randy Rhoades in my afternoon and thanks to you, that’s now happened.


  37. - blue dog dem - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 4:21 pm:

    Might I recommend(again) a city/county/user earnings tax of 1/4%?


  38. - Grouch - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 4:34 pm:

    I-94 traffic jams.


  39. - JS Mill - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 4:45 pm:

    =”a commuter train all the way from Chicago to (Foxconn’s site).” =

    Bite me.


  40. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 4:58 pm:

    Coming Soon…AA Knowledge Worker Transportation Services, featuring the finest in retired Greyhound busses.


  41. - Whatever - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 4:59 pm:

    Bruce Rauner @ 3:17 ==In January I will be available to drive my Trashcan Van to WI. I can fit six to eight people in my van.==

    But if we get pulled over, I’m not the driver.


  42. - Anon - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 5:27 pm:

    $4.1 Billion in Wisconsin taxpayer dollars and the Company spokesperson is openly talking about how many flatlanders he’s going to hire. Well done Scott!


  43. - RNUG - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 6:35 pm:

    == Coming Soon…AA Knowledge Worker Transportation Services, featuring the finest in retired Greyhound busses. ==

    You may be abke to get a good deal on an entire fleet of former Cavallo buses.


  44. - Bobby T - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 7:46 pm:

    Why in the world would I commute to Wisconsin when the real tech — and most likely, Amazon — is here in Chicago?

    As bad is Metra is — and continues to be — I’ll take my 45 minute rickety Metra ride in to Ogilvie any day — versus some 2 hour ride into another *state* for a company that will — I’m certain of this — pull the plug in less than 2 years.


  45. - Michelle Flaherty - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 8:13 pm:

    Can we TIF Wisconsin to finance it?


  46. - ZC - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 8:34 pm:

    I wish we did have a regular train from Chicago to Milwaukee. God knows who would pay for it but in the long run both states’ economies would benefit, I bet.


  47. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 8:39 pm:

    -an entire fleet of retired Cavallo busses-

    RNUG, I like how you think.


  48. - Gooner - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 8:53 pm:

    Chicago needs to create jobs and employment opportunities for lower income and uneducated workers.

    In contrast, Chicago is doing pretty well for highly educated people. The jobs are here and those workers want to live here.

    If Foxconn wants Chicago workers in an already competitive labor market, Foxconn is going to have to come up with some incentive plan to convince Chicago to cooperate.

    In any case, the fact that the company is only thinking about it now shows a real need for the high quality workforce that it is apparently lacking.


  49. - Levois - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 9:26 pm:

    An opportunity to bring back the North Shore Line?


  50. - Ares - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 10:24 pm:

    There are already METRA trains from Ogilvie Station to Kenosha. One of the governors along the route is free to subsidize additional trains.


  51. - Stuntman Bob's Brother - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 10:30 pm:

    That comment had to be tongue-in-cheek, who in God’s name would want to commute 75 miles each way every day, even by rail? Surely not enough to make it worth building a line. Low and mid-level workers will move within ten miles of the place, and Upper Management can live in Lake Forest, Winnetka, etc.. If Foxconn happens, they will recruit workers willing to live near the place. Which isn’t so bad, there’s a lot of pretty country up there, and I would think one’s total tax burden and living expenses would be less as a WI resident. You can always visit the best parts of Chicago whenever the urge strikes, without having to live with the warts.


  52. - FromDaZoo - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 9:41 am:

    Others have commented on North Shore blocking and need for other parties (i.e Wisconsin) to kick in for any rail improvements.
    To those who think the commute would be crazy long, you may not be aware of those who already have a similar commute distance/time on the existing UPNW line from Harvard, IL.


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