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The reporting began with journalism students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as part of an investigative reporting class taught by Professor Deborah Blum this spring. The students were examining travel by all state secretaries and found most of  Transportation Secretary Frank Busalacchi’s recent trips related to pushing for improved passenger rail in the United States. Busalacchi’s travel coincided with Wisconsin’s plan to apply for a piece of $8 billion in stimulus funds to build a high-speed train line between Madison and Milwaukee.

The students interviewed Busalacchi and other Wisconsin Department of Transportation officials familiar with the project, residents and elected officials along the proposed route and researchers studying the costs and benefits of high-speed passenger rail.

When the semester ended, one of the students, Lexie Clinton, continued to work on the story as a reporter for the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. Dee J. Hall and Robert Gutsche Jr.,  who work as editors and reporters for the Center, assisted with the remainder of reporting. Blum and Andy Hall, executive director of the Center, were advisers throughout the project.

About The Center

The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism works with its partners and mainstream and ethnic news media to improve the quality and expand the amount of investigative journalism in Wisconsin. Visit here for more information.

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