Ahead of Common Council vote, informational meeting set for February 2nd on downtown streetcar

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Milwaukee streetcar

MILWAUKEE (WITI) — Milwaukee Common Council President Michael Murphy has scheduled an informational meeting open to the public to discuss the proposed downtown Milwaukee streetcar project. That meeting is scheduled for Monday, February 2nd — ahead of the February 10th Common Council vote on the issue.

The meeting will take place at 6:00 p.m. at the Washington Park Senior Center on W. Vliet Street.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is expected to be in attendance to provide an overview of the project.

“This meeting will provide an outstanding opportunity for community members to learn more about the streetcar project and ask questions related to it. Community members interested in seeing the Mayor’s presentation should come to Thursday’s meeting,” Murphy said.

A petition drive against the proposed streetcar project is ongoing. It’s being organized by the group “Citizens for Responsible Government.” Those opposed to the project hope to gather enough signatures (more than 30,000) to force the issue to a referendum. They hope to gather those signatures by February 8th.

But Milwaukee County Clerk Jim Owczarski tells FOX6 News even if the signatures are in before the February 10th Common Council vote, it would be too late to get the referendum on the April 2015 ballot. According to state statute regarding “direct legislation,” if there are six weeks or less before the election, the ordinance or resolution shall be voted on at the next election thereafter. Or — a special election would be needed. If the referendum comes after the Common Council vote, it cannot undo the Common Council’s action, Owczarski says.

Citizens for Responsible Government has warned they’re considering suing the city of Milwaukee if construction on a streetcar project begins before the public has an opportunity to weigh in.

The proposed $123.9 million streetcar project would provide service within a four-mile loop — connecting downtown Milwaukee to the lakefront and the city’s east side. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett says the project will be paid for with grant money, an already approved TIF district and $54 million in federal dollars earmarked specifically for a streetcar project. He says it won’t involve a property tax increase.

If approved and built, the streetcar could eventually be expanded.

Again — the Common Council will take up the streetcar issue on February 10th.

If you’re interested in obtaining signature sheets for the petition drive, you can get them at the following locations:

  • Sobelman’s Pub & Grill – 1900 W. St. Paul Ave.
  • The Packing House Restaurant – 900 E. Layton Ave.
  • Sherman Perk Coffee Shop – 4924 W. Roosevelt Dr.
  • Wolski’s Tavern – 1836 N. Pulaski St.
  • CJ’s Sports Bar – 3279 S. 9th
  • Mama’s Italian Cuisine  – 7718 W. Burleigh
  • McKiernan’s Tavern  – 2066 S. 37th
  • Ron & Russ’s Flooring and Design – 2648 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
  • Sebring Garage – 6005 W. Howard Ave.
  • Southside Gardens – 1576 W. Oklahoma Ave. (signatures only – not drop-off)

CLICK HERE for further streetcar coverage via FOX6Now.com.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the proposed streetcar project.