Saturday, December 10th, 2016

Clang clang clang rode the trolley – on tires

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Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett desires a “modern” streetcar that will cost millions to lay down the track and millions more to move the utility infrastructure underneath. But Milwaukee already has a public transportation alternative downtown, and it has wheels. It goes more places and it costs a lot less to operate. So why is Milwaukee looking to spend so much money just to have a fixed system on rails?

What’s even more amazing about this trolley service is that it goes to more places than the “modern” streetcar service proposed by Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. And if the Downtown Business Improvement District needs to change the route to better accommodate passengers and the destinations the trolley serves, there’s no trouble at all.

Screen shot 2012-05-29 at 8.10.45 PM.pngThanks to a modern invention known as “the tire,” the trolley can go wherever the driver takes it. The private vendor even offers the trolley available for special events.

Despite the presence of a wheeled trolley carrying the masses of Milwaukee to popular destinations, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett has a different, more expensive vision. He wants to create a “modern” streetcar that would connect a few points in downtown Milwaukee, not nearly as many as the trolley on tires.Despite the very limited route, the capital costs for the original limited route is $64.6 million, most of which would come from federal funds. That means you and you and you living outside Milwaukee.What makes the streetcar “modern?” It would operate on fixed rails, preventing the streetcar from changing its route as needed. Worse, these rails would require the streets to be torn up and the displacement of several utility lines. If the railed-streetcar needed to expand, more streets would have to be torn up and more money would be needed for capital costs. Eventually they could have a railed streetcar system that might take you within 3-4 blocks of your destination at the cost of millions of dollars.

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