MADISON – In 2010, Wisconsin received a federal grant to build a high-speed rail line between Madison and Milwaukee. Some viewed it as a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity. Others saw it as a boondoggle. Beginning Oct. 9, WPR’s new podcast “Derailed” explores the story of how the project came together, how it fell apart and how Wisconsin changed along the way.
The series is the culmination of nearly a year of investigation by WPR Special Projects Reporter Bridgit Bowden and Capitol Bureau Chief Shawn Johnson. “When we were tossing around ideas for a limited run podcast almost a year ago, the team kept on coming back to high-speed rail,” said WPR News Director Noah Ovshinsky in a news release.
Over six episodes, listeners can hear from those intimately involved with this project, including new interviews with former Governors Tommy Thompson and Jim Doyle, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray Lahood, radio personality Charlie Sykes and others.
While some may think they know the story, “Derailed” details what was going on beneath the rails as it was happening. As Bowden and Johnson explored the topic, they discovered that people still had strong feelings about the decision to cancel the project. “We wanted to go deep on a topic that people are really passionate about but also revealed something bigger about politics in Wisconsin today,” Ovshinsky said in the release.
The first episode of “Derailed” is available at wpr.org/derailed. Subsequent episodes will be released each Wednesday through Nov. 13. The podcast is also available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify and other major podcast platforms.
Photo courtesy WPR/J.Potter. WPR reporters and “Derailed” podcast creators Shawn Johnson and Bridgit Bowden at a listening party in Madison in October.