Gov. Walker: Appoints former Democrat state Senator Jeff Plale as commissioner of railroads

Contact: Cullen Werwie, 608-267-7303

Madison – Governor Scott Walker announced the appointment of former Democrat State Senator Jeff Plale as Wisconsin’s next Commissioner of Railroads today.

“Jeff Plale’s distinguished record of public service and experience, both as a state legislator and as a state administrator, make him an excellent choice to serve as Railroad Commissioner,” Governor Walker said. “He will work hard to maintain a strong rail infrastructure, which will help the private sector create jobs in Wisconsin.”

During Plale’s tenure in the Wisconsin State Senate, he represented a legislative district with multiple rail lines and businesses that relied heavily on rail service, chaired the Senate Committee on Commerce, Utilities, Energy, and Rail and served on both the Senate and Assembly Transportation Committees.

“As Commissioner of Railroads, I will improve rail infrastructure and safety,” Jeff Plale said. “I understand the importance of a comprehensive transportation infrastructure and the profound impact that rail has on commerce and job creation. I thank Governor Walker for calling on me to continue to serve Wisconsin and I look forward to the challenges ahead.”

The Commissioner of Railroads’ primary responsibility is to make determinations about the adequacy of warning devices at railroad crossings, along with other railroad related regulations, which include:

* Installation of new highway/rail crossings
* Alteration of existing crossings
* Closing or consolidating existing crossings
* Repair of rough crossings
* Determining adequate railroad fences
* Exemptions from railroad track clearance laws

The Commissioner of Railroads serves a six year term expiring on March 1 of an odd-numbered year. Plale’s appointment is subject to confirmation by the Wisconsin State Senate.