5 Reasons the $124 Million Streetcar is Bad for Milwaukee
Check out these 5 reasons why the MKE streetcar project does not make sense:
1. Old Train, In Modern World -- an old, outdated, industrial streetcar does not fit in with the new and innovative ideas that Milwaukee needs to flourish in the modern world. A streetcar in Milwaukee does not mix with the hyper-connected, fast paced society of Milwaukee's future. Unlike buses, the city will not be able to move the streetcar around at ease and if they do want to change the route in the future, our generation will have to pay the price for new infrastructure.
2. Backwards Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) -- To get the cash the Mayor needs for the streetcar, he is planning on creating a Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) district for the massive spending for the project. The purpose of a TIF is to lock in tax dollars to pay for the streetcar project by taking the money that the streetcar would supposedly produce. The TIF district covers an area where development is already occurring, so in this case it will do the opposite. The streetcar will not subsidize development in these districts, but rather the new economic developments in downtown Milwaukee will subsidize an old, outdated train. In the end, We don't believe you Mayor Barrett...
3. Can't Pay Police Officers -- It's ridiculous to think that Mayor Barrett is extremely focused on his streetcar project, but blind to the fact that his budget has a 3 day furlough for the police department. Mike Crivello, President of Milwaukee Police Association said in opposition "[the streetcar] is certainly not an essential additional financial burden to a financially strapped city." We could fill the spending gap for the police department and help to keep the force up to date... but apparently city leaders would rather not do that.
4. Crony Capitalism & Corruption -- Private developers are using the project to get their hands on public dollars. As RightWisconsin.com notes, phase I of the MKE streetcar project is way beyond it's initial estimates and down the road expansions will pay off millions more to big business leaders. These private investors are using their political advantage to profit at the people's expense... And this is how they are going to feel when they get away with it:
5. Morally Unacceptable -- Money being put towards the MKE streetcar could be spent in better places to help stimulate growth in our great city. The obvious choice for investment in transportation would be investing in the bus systems, because we can easily change their route and still meet the transportation needs. Recently, Mayor Barrett attended a lecture by Harvard Economist Eward Glaeser who said "40 years of Harvard Economics can be boiled down to 4 words: Bus good, Train bad".
Furthermore, it's morally unacceptable that this money does not find its way to the children in the Milwaukee Public School (MPS) system. We all know that MPS could use help, so why are we wasting $124 million dollars on a streetcar that only serves the affluent downtown riders, while we could be investing in the young kids who need our help and who will be the future economic drivers for our great city.
The old transportation ideas proposed by Mayor Barrett and city leaders do not fit in with the hyper-connected, technological society of the 21st century. Add your name to urge your city leaders to end the streetcar boondoggle and support new ideas, for a new Milwaukee. [CLICK HERE to add your name]