Stop the Streetcar — Call Milwaukee Alderpersons Today.

by Chris Johnson, Editor, , Monday February 9, 2015

Mayor Barrett’s downtown streetcar supporters Ald. Coggs, Hamilton, Perez, Stamper and Wade: Wait to vote on Mayor’s downtown streetcar proposal until more is understood about the impact on public education in Milwaukee

Tomorrow, on Tuesday, February 10, the Common Council in the City Hall Chambers will vote on whether or not to move forward with Mayor Tom Barrett’s $124 million, 2.4 mile downtown streetcar proposal.

It has been clearly documented that this streetcar initiative will only benefit a small segment of the Milwaukee citizenry, including and predominately limited to, downtown residents and businesses, eastsiders, and tourists. Even the expansion streetcar route promises are not guaranteed and are not beneficial to the vast population that makes up the City of Milwaukee. The populous north, northwest, west, south and far south sides go virtually ignored in this proposal both in the initial route plan and in the unguaranteed future expansion routes.

Within the last week the Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB), the research arm for the City of Milwaukee, memo detailing where the city’s portion of financing the downtown streetcar, roughly $104 million over the life of the financing period, was completely retracted using phrases like “because the memoranda as a whole are based on inaccurate assertions and incomplete assumptions.”

It becomes apparent by the LRB retracting their estimation of how much property taxes will be “deferred” or “diverted” from MPS and MATC along with the other taxing entities that this has not been thoroughly thought over.

Not the time to defer money from public education

We have no idea how this will impact public education in the city of Milwaukee. Future revenues from property taxes to MPS and MATC have not been thoroughly vetted. And, in light of Governor Walker’s budget proposal, reducing public education budgets and expanding the school choice initiative, now is not the time to defer money from public education.

The impact on what “deferring” or “diverting” these monies could mean to the children of Milwaukee, their teachers, and the overall future of Milwaukee must be analyzed. The impact to future generations of Milwaukee children and families should be considered before casting this vote to take money away from MPS and MATC.

We implore the above mentioned Common Council members to consider the following before casting their vote: Get a clear understanding of how much money will be taken from public education to finance the downtown streetcar proposal before you vote.

The simple plea, motion to put off the vote on the downtown streetcar proposal until you have a clear understanding of how much MPS and MATC are going to lose in future revenues to pay for this downtown streetcar. Right now, no one has a clue.

Let’s ensure that the streetcar does not “defer” or “divert” public education dollars from MPS or MATC intended to educate our children and prepare our young adults for family sustaining careers.

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Last edited by Tyler Schuster.   Page last modified on February 09, 2015

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