• Ryan Antczak

Milwaukee's Empty Streetcar

Updated: Nov 11, 2019


* The operating budget is already facing a $1,500,000 shortfall in it's 1st year that was deemed "a smashing success" by our Mayor & some Alderman. Including many of the candidates running in our Alderman race. The budget to run the Streetcar is $4,300,000. This does not include the grant money the City of Milwaukee will have to pay back if the Couture isn't built quickly, which is $14,200,000. The County will have to pay $6,700,000 back to the Federal Government. For a grand total $20,000,000. that we the taxpayers have to pay with higher fees & taxes. Along with less services that all of the citizens get to endure. The Streetcar is a ticking financial time bomb that we can't afford.

* The City of Milwaukee has been searching for other forms of advertisement and corporate sponsorships for three years and they only have Potawatomi Bingo to show for it. To no avail 99% of businesses don't want any part of the Streetcar.

* The City of Milwaukee now takes all of the proceeds from the parking fund which is money given to the general fund, to fund the Streetcar. The City of Milwaukee never bought the fair collection devices for which they had budgeted for $400,000. Where did that money go? Now the Streetcar will not make any money from the few people that ride it!!

* The City of Milwaukee even admitted that if they started to charge a fare, that it would cause a SIGNIFICANT downturn in ridership and wouldn’t even be worth the cost of installing the equipment.

Practically every city that has built these streetcars are operating in the red. They lose a lot of money.

* The Hop DID NOT have any influence on the ⅔ of the increase in property valuations since 2015. Also the vast ⅓ was spread over the hundreds of smaller properties throughout downtown that arguably could not have been affected much, if at all by the Hop. In most cases the projects were in the planning stages of already underway before the streetcar was approved in 2015.

* The Streetcar cost $125,000,000. Which consists of two federal grants that funded about ½ of the construction costs with the remaining amount of $59,000,000 expected to come from three tax increment financing districts (TIF). TIF District money diverts tax revenue that would pay for police, fire, city services, & lowering our taxes is given to pay for this silly trolley. We already pay for an awesome bus service that has been covering the loop the Streetcar currently covers. The buses are not on a fixed route. They can adept to consumer needs in travel, unlike a trolley. Hence why we got away from this form of transportation. This is 19th century technology at 21st century prices. Any expansion of the The Hop is dependent on federal funding. Which the Mayor has asked multiple times & has been turned down every time.

* The Journal Sentinel conducted a competition using their own reporters of which mode of transportation starting at the end of the streetcar route, going to the public market to find which would arrive first. They found that the person riding the streetcar arrived at their destination last and long after the others who arrived on the bus, bikes, and even walking. Just another reason many people are not riding the trolley for that there are far better options from getting from point A to point B. Even if it's on the exact route as the Streetcar.

* In 2019, the City of Milwaukee received $3,400,000 in Federal assistance. Every year after that number decreases to $0. Add in the fact that the City of Milwaukee had to issue bonds (borrow money) to finance the Streetcar and partly due to excessive debt. The City of Milwaukee financial rating has been lowered, which makes borrowing money harder & at a higher interest rate.

* Now that the fed money is going. Mayor Barrett will take money from the parking fund which feeds into the general fund which pays for much-needed services that benefits all City of Milwaukee residents such as staffing are police and fire department. Repairing infrastructure which is reconstructing our notorious crumbling streets, filling our potholes which are an embarrassment. Plowing and salting our roads safely, effectively and efficiency from a overworked and under staffed workforce.

* How does the DPW/Mayor plan to raise revenue? Sell ad space and sponsorships? That brilliant plan minus the Potawatomi, has been a smashing failure. Betting precious taxpayer dollars on a project that never shouldn't have been built in the first place much less expanded is irresponsible, unsustainable and dangerous. How can we with a straight face, ever complain about not receiving our fair share of the state revenue. When we foolishly spend money on a failed system. In this election, the leading candidates are FOR the streetcar. Just another reason why I need your vote on February 18th and hopefully April 7th.

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