Ald. Donovan battles streetcar project with petitions

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MILWAUKEE -- Alderman Bob Donovan believes 70 percent of Milwaukee residents are against a controversial streetcar project, and he plans on proving it.

The alderman will be handing out petitions the next couple of weeks in an attempt to get more than 6,000 signatures.  Donovan wants the city to halt a plan to build a nearly $65 million street line through downtown.  He hopes the signatures will convince other city leaders to let voters decide if they want the project in a ballot referendum.

The streetcar project was approved last year by the Milwaukee Common Council in a 10-5 vote. 

Several utility companies have said preliminary routes would force them to move millions of dollars worth of infrastructure to make way for the project, pushing it well over its budget.

Supporters of the project say it will help boost the economy downtown, as well as improve public transportation.  Most of the project will also be paid for by federal funds.

Donovan says that instead, the money should be put toward road improvements, which would also create jobs.

The debate has been heated.  Last month Donovan and fellow Alderman Bob Bauman got into a shouting match before media cameras.

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