Streetcar Vote Delayed Until February

Milwaukee – A crowd was on hand at Milwaukee City Hall to observe the Common Council ‘s vote on a downtown streetcar plan the mayor is trying to move forward.

The streetcar plan calls for four miles of track. It would loop the lower east side and the Third Ward, with stops downtown and at the Intermodal Station. The estimated cost of the project is $124 million. Federal money would cover 45 percent; special financing districts would provide the rest. The proposal has both supporters and detractors on the Council and in the business community.

Some Aldermen are opposed to the streetcar project, including Alderman Tony Zielinski. He says the project would not reach areas of the city in desperate need of development.

“The thing that especially causes concern for me as we have the highest, if not one of the highest African American unemployment rates in the entire country. And where do we stick this investment that according to our opponents is going to spur development not in the central city, instead downtown instead of providing it for the neediest people,” Zielinski says.

Zielinski adds, that downtown is already in the midst of a building boom.

Common Council voted to pass the streetcar measure however Zielinski sought and got a reconsideration.

Requiring three members of the Common Council, the reconsideration was a procedural move to delay a decision until February 10. This move was intended to help streetcar opposition to collect enough signatures to force a referendum.

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