New organization celebrates "National Train Day"

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- National Train Day on Saturday, May 11th, gave a new organization a chance to announce its formation and gave city leaders an opportunity to encourage the streetcar project.

All Aboard Wisconsin is a statewide alliance of organizations and individuals committed to growing and developing public transit. Members gathered outside the Milwaukee Intermodal Station to speak to commuters about strengthening the travel network.

“Dedicated to increasing the public transportation options for Wisconsin that includes inner city passenger trains as well as more bus service and local transit," President Michael McCoy said.

The organization wants to fix the gaps it sees.

“The problems we’re having is with the lack of frequencies and getting additional service. We’re very much supportive of having train service into the Twin Cities through Madison, Wisconsin,” McCoy added.

Members plan to get involved in the political process by endorsing candidates and promoting a pro-rail and multimodal transportation in the state. For city leaders like Alderman Bob Bauman, Saturday’s event was a helpful coincidence.

“We want to explain to the public that the streetcar is very much moving forward," said Bauman .

Bauman used National Train Day to clarify issues surrounding Milwaukee’s Streetcar project. He said the project is still going forward despite actions from the Joint Committee on Finance. It recently approved a motion that would bar utility ratepayers from having to bear any costs for a proposed streetcar project in Milwaukee.

“The cost of moving utilities in connection with the street car will be zero,” Bauman added.

The alliance backs the city, saying the addition is a benefit in many ways.

“Will increase jobs, increase tax pace, increase the number of downtown residents and be a catalyst for economic and real estate development,” said Bauman.

Construction on the streetcar is set to begin spring of 2014. All Aboard Wisconsin plans to hold forums and community outreach efforts in the upcoming future.