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Wisconsin lawmakers approve purchase of two high-speed trains from Spain

Wisconsin state lawmakers have approved a controversial purchase of two high-speed trains from a company in Spain.

Eleven Democrats voted yes, and four Republicans voted no when the Joint Finance Committee approved a deal Tuesday with Patentes Talgo of Spain.

The firm agreed to open a plant in Wisconsin to build the trains and create 80 jobs and it's all part of the proposed high-speed passenger line from Chicago through Wisconsin to the Twin Cities.

Republicans blasted the deal, saying the Doyle administration wasted money by not seeking competitive bids.

The Wisconsin State Journal said three other companies had expressed an interest in building the trains, and one complained about not getting a chance to bid.

But Talgo was the only firm that gave the state a detailed proposal, after state officials had asked the companies for information back in February.

The deal includes an option for the state to buy two more trains if it receives part of the $8 billion in federal stimulus money for high-speed rail projects.

In March, Gov. Jim Doyle met with Talgo officials in Spain and he rode the company's trains.

The Spanish government paid for the trip.