Milwaukee Mayor Maps Out Plan to Keep Streetcar Project Moving
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett says he intends to use $49.3 million in tax incremental financing (TIF) to extend a proposed 2.1-mile street car line and finance infrastructure alterations for the $123.9-million project. Subject to approval by Milwaukee's Common Council and Redevelopment Authority, funds would finance a 0.4-mile lakefront extension added to original plans and, if required, the cost of relocating utility lines for the project.
Earlier this week, Milwaukee sued the Wisconsin Public Service Commission, seeking to reverse a commission ruling requiring the city to finance the relocations rather than utilities and their ratepayers. The suit, filed with Milwaukee County Circuit Court, contends utilities maintaining equipment under city streets are liable for some of the costs incurred in relocating them.
The suit indicates it would cost We Energies, AT&T Wisconsin, Time Warner Cable and others from $10 million to $25 million to relocate the lines. Costs originally were estimated at $60 million before adjustments were made to the route.
To date, Milwaukee has secured $64.6 million in funding for the line, including $54.9 million from the Federal Transit Administration and $9.7 million from an existing TIF district. Barrett indicated earlier this week the city will seek up to $10 million in additional federal funding for the lakefront extension.
Under Barrett's plan, the city also would expand an existing TIF district and create a new one. Public hearings on the initiative are scheduled for Dec. 2. The Common Council could vote on the plan as early as mid-December.
Assuming plans are approved, construction could begin late next year and conclude in mid-2018.