Sunday, December 4th, 2016

A streetcar undesired

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The MacIver Institute is out with a study showing that the supposed economic benefits of a mega-million streetcar system in downtown Milwaukee are just there to be found.

“Downtown landowners and developers will benefit only if the city decides to throw hundreds of millions of dollars of additional subsidies to development along the line,” according to the MacIver Report.

The study examined the much-touted streetcar project in Portland, Oregon and found that development along the route their only occurred after officials offered nearly a billion dollars in subsidies, something heretofore not mentioned in the Milwaukee Streetcar discussions.

““In total, then, the city provided close to a billion dollars in subsidies to property developers along the existing streetcar line on top of the $103 million cost of the streetcar itself,” the MacIver Institute found.

The MacIver study also refuted claims that the streetcar would increase the use of mass transit, positively impact the environment and would be a long-term boon to taxpayers. All not true, according to O’Toole.

“Streetcars are a long-obsolete technology,” he concludes. “Milwaukee and other cities that wish to revitalize neighborhoods and business districts would do better to invest in modern transportation, including repairing their streets, installing the latest traffic signal coordination systems, and improving safety for all travelers.”

The study is posted online as well.

My own recent perspective piece on the streetcar and the current trolley service is posted online, too.

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