Does Gov. Walker's Reelection Imperil Milwaukee's Streetcar Plans?

With Milwaukee's planned streetcar system a focus of campaign attacks by recalled governor Scott Walker on his Democratic challenger, and current mayor, Tom Barrett, Matt Dellinger asks if Walker's victory means the end of the line for the train.

With Republican governors across the country derailing rail projects left and right, Dellinger investigates whether Walker's enmity for the "$100 [sic] Boondoggle" Milwaukee streetcar system, scheduled for completion in Fall 2014, might put the line in the crosshairs as well.

Pointing to a thorough piece the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel ran last year, Dellinger says there's reason to believe, "Walker might be powerless to stop the streetcar plan, even if he wanted to do so."

According to the article by Larry Sandler, "A 10-year-old civil rights settlement...prohibits the state from blocking the streetcar project, according to a top federal transportation official and an attorney involved in the settlement. Faced with allegations that it was discriminating against urban minorities by favoring freeways over light rail, the state agreed in November 2000 to cooperate with the Milwaukee Connector study and to incorporate its recommendations into the state's long-term transportation plans. That study eventually spawned the streetcar." 

Isn't it ironic then that John Norquist, who was mayor of Milwaukee at the time of the agreement, believes that transit has returned as a wedge social issue. "This last election Walker ran against the city, tried to wrap the fear about the big city around Barrett's neck," Norquist observed. "It's all very hardcore. They treat transit like it's a welfare queen sashaying down a welfare promenade."



Full Story: Will Walker’s Wisconsin Win Mean No Milwaukee Streetcar?


Brand new! Urban Grid City Collection

Each city has its own unique story. Commemorate where you came from or where you want to go.
Grids and Guide Red book cover

Grids & Guides

A notebook for visual thinkers. Available in red and black.

Stay thirsty, urbanists

These sturdy water bottles are eco-friendly and perfect for urbanists on the go.
Book cover of Unsprawl

Unsprawl: Remixing Spaces as Places

Explore visionary, controversial and ultimately successful strategies for building people-centered places.
Starting at $12.95