Milwaukee — Council Sets Streetcar Cap
Rail Transit Online, July 2011
The city council has now voted to proceed with the proposed downtown streetcar
line. However, the council also approved a spending cap of $64.6 million and instructed the city public works commissioner to do whatever is required — including adjusting the route — to prevent a price escalation.
The council acted after the city comptroller warned that utility companies many have to spend more than anticipated on relocation of their cables, pipes and conduits. But a
spokesman for the electric company and the city engineer later agreed that the cost would substantially less than the figure of "tens of millions of dollars" that was initially floated. Capital funding will come from a long-dormant $54.9-million federal grant and $9.7 million from a local tax increment financing district.
Design is now at the 30-percent level and the procurement process for six modern streetcars is underway. The 2.1 -mi. (3.37 km)
line, championed by Mayor Tom Barrett as a significant development tool, will connect the Milwaukee Intermodal Station serving Amtrak and Greyhound with the lower east side
neighborhood. The tracks would be located within about 1,300 ft. (402 meters) of every downtown hotel room, around 90 percent of occupied downtown office and retail space, and three-quarters of downtown housing.
Revenue service is now planned for 2014, a year later than earlier anticipated.