Vaccine, Milwaukee, Wisconsin treetcar sales tax floated to fund $330M expansion | FOX6 News Milwaukee
Investigator brian polson shows you the confidential plan to spend hundreds of millions of dollars and the new tax one alderman wants to impose to pay for it all Music. The city of milwaukee cannot afford this toy if the best things in life are free. I dont want to pay nothing milwaukees hop street car ought to be in high demand living over here. Theres, just no reason for us to get on it before the pandemic. Ridership peaked at more than 3 300 riders per day this year, the hops busiest month, barely cracked 900. Even in the midst of the bucks run to the nba championship, i think thats a blip on a screen, milwaukee alderman, bob bauman, says free fares and low ridership are no reason to derail plans for a dramatic streetcar expansion to maximize its benefits and its effectiveness. You have to go more than 2.1 miles and thats exactly what city leaders are preparing to do. The most immediate concern is getting it to the pfizer forum mayor tom barrett dreams of a future where the hop reaches far and wide. I would absolutely love to go to the airport. I would love to go to all parts of the city, but city developers have more concrete plans to expand the system north past the arena and into bronzeville. We came up here, i dont know if id take it or not. I think that you know were kind of due for some development, especially in this area and south through the third ward and into walkers point.
You have to really start connecting neighborhoods in the greater downtown area, its hardly a secret. The city wants to expand the streetcar if it connected out here, wed, certainly use it. What they have yet to tell you is how much its going to cost. I think a number has been out there. Generally. In 2019 city officials proposed a 47 million dollar package to start planning and building seven new miles of track, but that was just the beginning. According to records obtained by the fox 6 investigators, the actual cost of a full build into bronzeville and walkers point would total nearly 330 million dollars. I have no idea what that is: 70 million of that would be funded by local taxpayers like terrence douglas ive. Never even seen sixty thousand dollars and alderman mark borkowski says thats, just the cost of construction. Somebody has to say something because its not sustainable the department of public works estimates. The expanded system would cost an additional seven million dollars a year to operate and maintain, on top of the four and a half million to run the existing line we cant afford. The line that we have now operating costs are always an issue. The current line is being supported by revenue from parking tickets, but bauman says an expanded system would require its own funding source, most likely. He says a sales tax. Do you think thats where that ultimately has to go because, of course, parking revenue cant cover? Of course it is that is, of course, where it ultimately has a goal.
The mayor denies any plan for a streetcar sales tax thats, not something im looking at right now, but this 15 page city memo says a dedicated funding source would be required. There seems to be a method of of lack of transparency. The memo is marked confidential. Why would that be? For all? I know they mark everything confidential public works. Commissioner, jeff polenski was not available for an interview for this story, but mayor barrett says taxpayers ought to be in on the conversation. I think it is important to have these conversations publicly. He points out that 80 percent of the project will be paid for with federal money. We know that this is something thats going to cost money. We know that were going to get money from the federal government and its going to be done in the open. I mean we want it to be transparent process. They act like a million bucks aint, nothing we cant afford it. Borkowski says the streetcar is impractical, its a novelty its nice to have, but he also believes expansion is inevitable. Do i think that the mayor could cobble the votes? Absolutely. The 330 million dollar question is how much street car do milwaukee taxpayers desire. The total cost of the proposed extensions is nearly triple that of the existing line, and we only know that, because of an open records request, we filed all the way. Back. In april it took the department of public works, four months to produce more than 3 500 emails from that request, including the proposed plan to spend 330 million dollars in extensions.
That is a figure that has yet to be discussed as far as we can tell in a single public meeting in milwaukee brian polson fox 6 investigators. Brian. Thank you now as part of the funding effort, the city has asked congresswoman gwen moore to seek 60 million dollars in federal earmarks for streetcar extensions. Alderman bauman says the pfizer forum. Extensions is nearly shovel ready.