This ‘Bob’ says ‘No!’ to downtown streetcars

    It seems a news media report (not by BizTimes) last week had me mixed up with my esteemed colleague from the 4th Aldermanic District – also known as “Bob” – and said that I was supportive of the proposed $54 million downtown trolley route.

    I am NOT in support of the trolley project, but I had to explain the mix-up to several constituents and residents who either called or approached me in person to express their dismay. I think I’ve set the record straight with most of my constituents on this matter, but just in case there are any doubters, I wanted to raise these points:

    • There seems to be zero grassroots energy or momentum calling for a downtown streetcar trolley, and my constituents are certainly NOT clamoring for it. To me it appears that supporters are just trying to find a way to spend the $54 million in federal mass transit money that’s been sitting idle since the early 1990s, and will do anything to make it look like a rail project that somehow puts Milwaukee in a “new modern light” to outside observers.
    • My constituents are clamoring for jobs, for more cops, for restoring the Milwaukee Fire Department, for fixing our schools, and for fixing and paving our streets. These are the real “wants” that I’m hearing from them.

    Why can’t government deliver what the people really want? Please don’t tell me that the $54 million simply cannot be used for some other public purpose.


    With our powerful Senator Kohl and Senator Feingold in Washington, D.C., why couldn’t they pull some strings and free the idle transit money up for another purpose? Better yet – how about a binding referendum on how the money should be spent? Let the people decide!

    If the choice of how to make use of that $54 million was put in the hands of voters, I guarantee it wouldn’t end up paying for the downtown trolley.

    Bob Donovan is the alderman of Milwaukee’s 8th District.


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