Milwaukee's Common Council is onboard with Tom Barrett's trolley.
The streetcar is very popular with a select few.
Many see it as a boondoggle of mammoth proportions and a giant leap backwards.
The Milwaukee Common Council has passed the controversial streetcar project.Freeways are fixed routes. So are streets. We already have fixed routes. Good grief!
Nine of the 15 council members supported the project at the group's January meeting. Opponents then voted to reconsider the item, putting off the final vote until today.
A motion to reconsider the passing votes failed 6-9 on Tuesday. Therefore the original January approval votes now stand.
"I'm betting on the future of the city of Milwaukee," said Mayor Tom Barrett, who has championed the project from day one. "I believe you're going to see investment and growth along and near the route."
Barrett said the four-mile fixed downtown route may turn some off, but he believes expansion routes will be added to the Third Ward, Fifth Ward, UW-Milwaukee and even the airport in the future.
"It is a fixed route, which to some people, there's opposition to that," he said. "But there's a reason. Employers, developers, retailers, know it's going to be there for the next 10, 20, 30 years."
It's not like a streetcar will bring fixed routes to the table in terms of development, as Barrett suggests. Employers, developers, and retailers know freeways and streets will be there for the next 10, 20, 30 years, too.
A streetcar only brings headaches. As transportation, it's terribly limited. It can't easily be moved or redirected.
In sum, it's not smart.
"Does the benefit outweigh the cost?" asked council president Michael Murphy. "Yes there is risk, but there is risk in everything in life. The reality is, as a city, do we not take risks anymore?"Oh, my God.
That is not a good argument.
I don't want to go back.
Now that Milwaukee gets a trolley, when will the Common Council vote for rotary phones & ice block delivery for the courthouse?— Brian Fraley (@Dailytakes) February 10, 2015
Tom Barrett says, Milwaukee "has momentum."
I agree. However, we differ on the direction of that momentum.