Victory in committee Tuesday, followed by defeat Wednesday for downtown streetcar proposal

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- On Tuesday, December 9th, a victory for the downtown streetcar proposal as the city’s Zoning, Neighborhood and Development Committee approved two TIF districts that would help fund the project. On Wednesday, December 10th -- defeat as Milwaukee's Public Works Committee voted against a streetcar resolution.

Milwaukee Alderman Robert Bauman was pleased Tuesday, as a committee approved the tax incremental funding districts that would help fund the proposed streetcar project.

“So basically we`re good to go. We need to get eight votes on the Council floor next week and we`ll be moving forward on building modern transit in Milwaukee for the first time in since 1958 when we abandoned streetcars. It’s almost been one of my, you know, life missions was to see modern transportation come to the city of Milwaukee and we’re pretty close. I mean, we’re at 60 percent design,” Milwaukee Alderman Robert Bauman said Tuesday.

On Wednesday, a streetcar resolution was defeated by the Public Works Committee -- a victory for streetcar opponents.

"I've been an opponent of it from the beginning and as far as I'm concerned it was a bad idea when it first came out and it has not gotten any better with age," Milwaukee Alderman Bob Donovan said Wednesday.

Public Works Committee members voted to place the resolution on file, which means even though it was rejected on Wednesday, the full Common Council can consider it next week.

"This very well could get defeated. It ain't a slam dunk. It could get defeated -- but we got to make these decisions based on merit, based on the future, based on our kids and our grandkids," Milwaukee Alderman Willie Wade said.

It is unclear exactly what action the Common Council will take on the proposal, but debate about the streetcar project will continue.

"It will be debated on the floor hopefully unless it's held. It could be held in Council under various maneuvers and we'll obviously debate those. I think most people would just as soon have everybody take a vote, take a position, let the chips fall where they may and move on to the other things that this city has to deal with," Bauman said.

The proposed Milwaukee streetcar project could cost more than $98 million. That new figure was presented on December 4th to a city committee by the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission. Potential costs were assessed by comparing Milwaukee’s plan to streetcar systems in other cities.

The estimate was done on the original streetcar proposal -- but Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett has said he’d like to expand the project to loop around the lakefront.

The streetcar resolution will go before the full Common Council next Tuesday, December 16th.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the streetcar project.

CLICK HERE for further coverage of the streetcar proposal via