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Alderman Donovan gets some support for streetcar referendum

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Streetcar rendering

Streetcar rendering

MILWAUKEE (WITI) — Milwaukee Alderman Bob Donovan on Wednesday, March 27th got some support in his attempt to stop a project that would bring a streetcar to downtown Milwaukee.

Milwaukee’s Youth Council says they support the alderman in his attempt to get a citywide referendum on the nearly $65 million project.

Alderman Donovan has called the project a waste of money.

It has been approved by Milwaukee’s Common Council and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

Alderman Donovan released the following statement following a press conference he held Wednesday:

Milwaukee Alderman Bob Donovan

Milwaukee Alderman Bob Donovan

“Not 20 minutes prior to my news conference at City Hall today (with City of Milwaukee Youth Council member Vincent Synowicz, in reference to his unanimously-approved legislation calling for a referendum on the downtown streetcar project), I received a call from state Rep. Dale Kooyenga, who represents a district that includes Brookfield, Wauwatosa, and Milwaukee.

Rep. Kooyenga, a member of the legislature’s Joint Finance Committee, told me he is introducing legislation that seeks to bar utility companies from passing along costs to rate payers that are associated with moving utility lines related to a streetcar project.

If approved, this means city taxpayers and certain downtown businesses alone would shoulder the burden of these as yet unknown costs, which are believed to be approximately $70 million. I simply cannot fathom members of the Common Council allowing the project to move forward under that cost scenario, so Rep. Kooyenga’s legislation would effectively be the final stake in the heart of the streetcar project.

I want to publicly thank Rep. Kooyenga for his legislation. Not only is he giving me an early birthday present, but he’s also exercising the common sense that I wish more of our local public officials would tap into more often.”