GREEN BAY, Wis. (NBC 26) — Passengers have gone over five decades without train service to and from Green Bay. But Mayor Eric Genrich is optimistic that will soon change.
"Expanding service from Milwaukee to Green Bay has been in the plans for a very long time with our state DOT, probably going back 20 or 30 years," he said.
On Tuesday, Genrich joined a call with a White House adviser to discuss a bipartisan lawthat provides Amtrak with $66 billion for national rail projects.
"We've always lacked funding to make that extension possible," Genrich said. "So that $66 billion that's been included in the bipartisan infrastructure law is the game-changing element in this discussion."
Amtrak tells NBC 26 it wants to serve Green Bay and it's a market that makes sense. The company's website lists the city as a possible destination for a railway.
"There's an ongoing ridership study that's soon to be wrapped up, so we're really optimistic about what those results will indicate," Genrich said. "We have our fingers crossed on that."
Senior White House Adviser and Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu told Genrich that the president is taking notice.
"[Biden] is very interested in making sure that Amtrak takes that $66 billion that they have, make sure that they use the idea of connecting people and giving them an option other than driving in cars on highways that helps economies and ties cities together," Landrieu said. "So there are no promises here."
The Green Bay mayor says the project would be part of Amtrak's 2035 plan.
"Just from the City of Fond du Lac to Green Bay, there's a million people that could be impacted by this service, a million residents and thousands upon thousands of employers," he said.
Genrich hopes to locate a station downtown.
"We should have a better sense of how realistic it is within the next month or so I would hope," he said.