The Milwaukee Streetcar is Hiring
The contractor needs workers and city residents get preference.
Want a job working on the railroad?
If so, the Milwaukee Streetcar is looking for you. As utility crews wrap up their work moving gas, sewer, water and electrical lines from the right-of-way, actual streetcar track construction will begin in the coming months. That will require lots of work, and construction manager Kiewet Infrastructure will be hiring lots of Milwaukeeans for the job.
As part of streetcar’s approval, its construction has a hiring goal that 40 percent of the project’s hours must be done by workers certified in the city’s Residents Preference Program (RPP). That program targets city residents who are under or unemployed and is in place on many active projects including the Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons and the Milwaukee Bucks’ new arena. Kiewet will also need to subcontract with a number of certified disadvantaged business enterprises (DBE) to achieve the 21 percent of project costs goal in that category.
Pushing for Kiewet to bring as much attention as possible to the event, Ald. Milele Coggs explained that in voting for the streetcar “part of the light at the end of the tunnel, aside from the obvious reasons, was the potential and possibility for people to get work. We need to insure that the outreach to the community casts as wide a net as possible.” She noted that even people who are opposed to the streetcar will likely change their tune if someone in their family gets a job working on the project.
Department of City Development commissioner Rocky Marcoux also noted the need to generate a buzz around project hiring and training. Alluding to other recent projects that have failed to meet their local hiring goals, the commissioner implored the project team to connect with the council members and area churches to spread the word about the opportunities from the start.
Next Thursday’s meeting is not mandatory and won’t be the last information session on project opportunities, but according to Kiewet streetcar project manager Michael Eithier people are strongly encouraged to attend.
The Milwaukee Streetcar is expected to begin operating in late 2018. The lakefront extension will begin operating shortly after the initial line from the Milwaukee Intermodal Station to the Lower East Side starts running. The city continues to pursue funding opportunities for a third phase which would extend the line via N. 4th St. to the convention center, new arena and Bronzeville.
City Hiring an Operator
On a separate track, the Concord Group, who serves as the city’s owner’s representative on the project, is gearing up to release a request-for-proposals (RFP) for operation of the streetcar by the end of the month. A Friday morning project update meeting included a back-and-forth between Department of Public Works commissioner Ghassan Korban, Marcoux and the Concord Group’s John Duggan which gave broad hints at to who the operator might be.
Korban told the committee “we certainly would like a national operator with a local workforce.” He followed that by stating “we don’t see this as an opportunity for a startup.” He noted that the city has already been approached by several qualified parties that have expressed interest in operating the system.
The statements by the commissioner seem to rule out the possibility that the bus-only Milwaukee County Transit System would win a bid to operate the system. It’s also unlikely that MCTS even bids to operate the system because of an amendment attached to the 2017 Milwaukee County budget by supervisor John Weishan that would require a county-wide referendum if the county is to engage with the streetcar.
The lack of a bid by MCTS doesn’t change the likely cooperation and fare interoperability between the two transit systems, but does suggest that a national, for-profit operator is likely to operate the streetcar system.
First Vehicle Expected in December
Streetcar vehicle manufacturer Brookville Equipment Corporation is expected to deliver the first vehicle in December. The Pennsylvania-based manufacturer was initially contracted to deliver four of their Liberty Modern Streetcars for $18.6 million, but the city is exercising an option to purchase an additional vehicle for the lakefront extension of the system.
Brookville will first manufacture vehicles for Dallas, Detroit and Oklahoma City, which Korban considers a plus for Milwaukee. Korban told other streetcar committee members that he expects the Milwaukee vehicles to be the best because Brookville will benefit from experience in building the earlier vehicles.
The Liberty vehicles are eight-feet, eight-inches wide and 66-feet long. The vehicles feature 32 seats and a total capacity of 150 passengers. They weigh 79,000 pounds when empty. The planned useful life of the vehicle is 30 years. The maximum speed is (currently) intentionally limited to 42 miles per hour.
The $18.6 million contract breaks down to $13.87 million for the vehicles, $3.79 million for support, approximately $400,000 for additional support and $546,426 for spare parts. Local firm Milwaukee Composites, which makes flooring components for mass transit vehicles, will provide the flooring for the vehicles. They are donating the floor system to Brookville and the streetcar project at no charge.
For more on the vehicles, see my November 2015 article on the selection of the vehicle provider.
Route and Expansion Plans
Urban Milwaukee Streetcar Coverage
- Streetcar Project Receives Federal Grant – Jeramey Jannene – October 12th, 2016
- Council Okays Streetcar to Bucks Arena – Jeramey Jannene – July 6th, 2016
- $6.5 Million in Streetcar Savings – Jeramey Jannene – February 26th, 2016
- Donovan Lies About Streetcar Suit – Jeramey Jannene – February 15th, 2016
- BID Sells Streetcar-Related Development – Jeramey Jannene – January 15th, 2016
- Pennsylvania Company Wins Streetcar Contract – Jeramey Jannene – November 13th, 2015
- City Accepts $14 Million Federal Streetcar Grant – Michael Horne – October 29th, 2015
- Anti-Streetcar Petition Dies – Bruce Murphy – August 28th, 2015
- Scott Walker Aids Milwaukee Streetcar – Jeramey Jannene – July 13th, 2015
- Streetcar Construction Starts in October – Jeramey Jannene – July 10th, 2015
- The Strange Politics of Anti-Streetcar-ites – Bruce Murphy – June 18th, 2015
- Anti-Streetcar Petition Drive Fails – Bruce Murphy – March 5th, 2015
- Streetcar Signing Is Quite a Celebration – Michael Horne – February 13th, 2015
- Milwaukee Streetcar Approved – Jeramey Jannene – February 10th, 2015
- Who’s Lobbying for the Streetcar – Bruce Murphy – February 5th, 2015
- Will Streetcar Help the Inner City? – Bruce Thompson – February 4th, 2015
- City Attorney Says Streetcar Petitions Might be Moot – Bruce Murphy – January 30th, 2015
- Millennials And The Streetcar – Bruce Thompson – January 27th, 2015
- Streetcar Responses Show Wide Support – Jeramey Jannene – January 22nd, 2015
- Streetcar Approved, but Held – Jeramey Jannene – January 21st, 2015
- Koch-Funded Group Backs Anti-Streetcar Drive – Bruce Murphy – January 20th, 2015
- Streetcar Backers Say They Have the Votes – Jeramey Jannene – January 20th, 2015
- Who is Funding the Anti-Streetcar Effort? – Bruce Murphy – January 20th, 2015
- Will Anti-Streetcar Referendum Succeed? – Bruce Murphy – January 9th, 2015
- The Story Behind the Streetcar Referendum – Michael Horne and Bruce Murphy – January 8th, 2015
- Council Delays Streetcar Until January – Jeramey Jannene – December 16th, 2014
- Committee Takes No Action on Streetcar – Jeramey Jannene – December 10th, 2014
- Committee Approves Milwaukee Streetcar – Jeramey Jannene – December 9th, 2014
- RACM Approves Tax Funding for Streetcar – Michael Horne – December 8th, 2014
- How to Sell the Streetcar – Michael Horne – November 28th, 2014
- Next Stops for the Streetcar – Michael Horne – November 24th, 2014
- Barrett Moving Forward with Streetcar – Jeramey Jannene – November 18th, 2014
- Who Will Be Streetcar Operator – Michael Horne – May 8th, 2014
- A Streetcar Named Cooperation? – Dave Reid – April 27th, 2014
- How a Streetcar Spurs Development – Angie Schmitt – November 3rd, 2013
- Streetcar Social – Michael Horne – September 12th, 2013
- Mayor Says Streetcar is a “Trojan Horse” – Michael Horne – April 17th, 2013
- Whoops, We Changed Our Mind – Dave Reid – September 27th, 2012
- Battle of the Bobs: Donovan vs Bauman Streetcar Press Conference – Jeramey Jannene – May 18th, 2012
- Important Hoan Bridge and Milwaukee Streetcar Meetings This Week – Dave Reid – November 14th, 2011
- Milwaukee Streetcar Passes Common Council – Jeramey Jannene – July 26th, 2011
- Keep the Milwaukee Streetcar Moving Forward – Jeramey Jannene – July 8th, 2011
- Milwaukee Streetcar at Apex – Jeramey Jannene – June 16th, 2011
- Milwaukee Streetcar Takes Key Step Forward – Jeramey Jannene – May 6th, 2010
- Milwaukee Streetcar Meeting This Thursday – Jeramey Jannene – October 5th, 2009
- Milwaukee Streetcar Routes Unveiled by Mayor Barrett – Jeramey Jannene – September 21st, 2009
- Milwaukee Streetcar Round-Up – Jeramey Jannene – April 19th, 2009
- Vote for your Favorite Milwaukee Streetcar Route – Jeramey Jannene – March 25th, 2009
- Design Your Own Streetcar Route – Jeramey Jannene – March 23rd, 2009
- Streetcars Coming to Milwaukee – Dave Reid – March 14th, 2009