On Tuesday, the West Allis Common Council voted unanimously to oppose Milwaukee’s proposed streetcar line. That line would only run in downtown Milwaukee, four miles away from West Allis’s city limits. However, residents in West Allis and other surrounding communities would have to help pay for it.
The streetcar’s initial cost is estimated at $64.6 million. It would cost another $50 million to move the utilities to accommodate the line. That cost would be spread out among utilities customers throughout southeastern Wisconsin.
“I am confident that the vast majority of residents in Milwaukee and the region would rather that the money be used to help rebuild our crumbling roads, or even to help our struggling transit system,” said Milwaukee Alderman Bob Donovan. “A trolley serving a small area of downtown Milwaukee is not something they support.”
The West Allis Common Council failed to see the advantages streetcars have over buses, which are much less expensive and have flexible routes that stretch much farther.
Other than helping to fund it, surrounding communities like West Allis do not enter into the streetcar’s equation. The City of Milwaukee’s primary goal in building the line is to promote economic growth in its own downtown.