Milwaukee Alderman Tony Zielinski’s attempt to give Milwaukee County more time to put together a response to the city’s request for proposal to operate the downtown streetcar didn’t receive any support Tuesday from his colleagues.
Zielinski was the only alderman to vote in favor of extending the RFP deadline from April 4 to June 5. Alderman Bob Donovan abstained.
Zielinski said he felt strongly a local operator should have a chance to bid on the proposal. The county can still bid on the contract, but now has to do so by the April 4 deadline.
Zielinski’s fellow council members said while it would be nice for the Milwaukee County Transit System to operate the streetcar, they questioned the county’s sudden interest in the project, which they have dragged their feet on supporting for the last eight years.
“In a perfect world, it makes economic common sense if MCTS were driving this,” said Alderman Robert Bauman. “But common sense has never dictated this process. Milwaukee County has literally come in at the 11th hour and 55th minute mark and they want to operate on terms that are different than what the RFP is calling for.”
The Milwaukee County Board voted last week to submit a proposal to have the Milwaukee County Transit System, which currently operates 411 buses in the county, operate the streetcar.
The operator chosen by the city of Milwaukee will operate the $124 million streetcar that will run from the Intermodal Station into the Historic Third Ward, through the east side of downtown and into the Lower East Side neighborhood.