Patti Wenzel

No need for streetcars – Ride the bus

By - May 12th, 2010 04:00 am
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Why are Milwaukee residents being asked to duplicate transit services already provided by the county and MCTS?  Why does the city of Milwaukee need to have its own little transit system that duplicates MCTS routes and isn’t as flexible and responsive as the current bus service? When will this battle of one-upmanship between the county and the city end?

Tom Barrett got a present last week as the Milwaukee Connector Study Group voted 3-1 to move ahead with an engineering study on the creation of a streetcar loop encompassing the Third Ward and East Town.

The only opposition to the plan came from Brian Dranzik, administration director for the Milwaukee County Department of Transportation and Public Works. He stated that streetcars would steal riders and transportation aid from MCTS, a position shared by his boss, County Executive Scott Walker.

That position was challenged by Milwaukee Public Works Commissioner Jeff Mantes, who said streetcar systems in other cities boosted ridership on public buses, rather than competing with them. Alderman Bob Bauman, who represents the most of the area included in the streetcar plan, said the streetcar wouldn’t duplicate existing bus routes and that it wouldn’t be in direct competition with MCTS for state transit aid.

Proponents of the streetcar say it will provide a connection between the Intermodal Station, the Bradley Center, East Town restaurants and Third Ward venue that currently doesn’t exist. A recent BizTimes.com article mentioned other pluses for streetcars:  they’re touris- friendly, retail development will follow it, they add vitality and innovation, they can transport people from point A to B without transfers, the tax base within a ¼ of the streetcar line will grow by $3.35 billion in 20 years, it will connect the downtown with other areas of the city and it has the “it” factor.

Wow, what about solving global warming and promoting world peace?

All of these arguments can be countered with one word – buses. Currently, MCTS has multiple routes that run through and around East Town and the Third Ward. There is even a bus route, the 57, that stops right in front of the Intermodal Station. Sure you have to transfer to other routes if your final destination isn’t 92nd and Hampton, but you would have to do the same if you used the streetcar.

Route map courtesy of the Milwaukee County Transit System

There is and has been economic development and vibrant activities in the Third Ward and East Town for years. New restaurants, including Ryan Braun’s Waterfront and Ward’s House of Prime have opened within the last year, and new boutiques are moving into both areas now that the recession is easing. Buses run past both these restaurants and near the boutiques, adding a streetcar line will simply duplicate what is already there.

Downtown Milwaukee is already connected to the rest of the city and the county by MCTS. Personally, I traveled to downtown Milwaukee since I was a toddler via Route 18, getting on the bus at 103rd and Greenfield in West Allis. That route still exists and is a vibrant connection between the southwestern suburbs and the downtown area. Route 10 connects downtown with the County Medical Center and Route 15 brings people from South Milwaukee through downtown and on to Bayshore Mall. Shouldn’t we direct our limited transit dollars to sustaining transit routes that currently work, instead of directing them towards a potential system that will serve a limited area?

And the argument that a streetcar is hip and trendy shouldn’t even be discussed by grown-ups.  Platform shoes, pork-pie hats and cosmopolitans were all deemed  hip and trendy at one time or another, but public policy should be determined in practical, economic terms. If the bus isn’t “it,” maybe we should make it cool, much like PBR and Schlitz have made a hipster comeback.

Also think about the aesthetics, environmental impact and adaptability of the streetcar. Will the addition of overhead electrical wires really improve the look of the Third Ward and East Town?  Will the city build a wind farm in the Menomonee Vally to generate the electricity to run the streetcar, or will it purchase coal-generated electricity from WE Energies to power the route. And what will happen when St. Paul, Wells or Van Buren are under construction and the streetcar can’t run there? At least with a bus, it can be rerouted to another street to continue service.

So while its trendy to be on the streetcar bandwagon, I’ll keep supporting and promoting the bus. Its been serving Milwaukee and the county for 150 years and we should make sure it serves us for many more years to come.

0 thoughts on “No need for streetcars – Ride the bus”

  1. Anonymous says:

    ” . . . what about solving global warming and promoting world peace?” The fewer city buses there are on our streets guzzling up fossil fuel from hostile OPEC-member countries and choking out huge plumes of black, sooty smoke from their exhaust pipes into the air behind them which descend on those of us on bikes or in cars with open windows, the better! I’m all for the streetcars. And, yes, there is certainly something to be said about the aesthetics of a little downtown streetcar line – overhead wires do not seem to detract from the charm of uptown neighborhoods in New Orleans, for example (and since when have the overhead power lines over Brady Street ever detracted from its charm and vitality?). I can’t wait to ride it!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I apologize this is longer than I had originally wanted (longer than the article?), but I’m simply exasperated by the short-sightedness of those arguing against fixed line transportation. While I appreciate the right of opinion and the reasons listed by this author, including TCD’s otherwise forward-thinking perspective that, in this case, allows for potentially contradictory thinking, from my perspective the arguments listed here are two-dimensional. For starters, I am a regular rider of MCTS from the East Side to downtown (and Third Ward), and have relied on the transportation throughout the entire city for 12 years. I can’t say enough about the effectiveness that the bus has provided me, including a near-front step drop off to my home. For me, it doesn’t get any better. But the initiative to develop a fixed light-rail alternative – in this case, a streetcar – isn’t only about me or you and our daily, local commutes of convenience. It’s about being part of a global community whose major city centers have all been employing such systems for decades. To list Ryan Braun’s restaurant and a few boutiques in the Third Ward as “development” is not the needed point of view of true leadership. Certainly, those are local gems and I support them, but they hardly elevate Milwaukee to greater national or global attention. While the city certainly embraces such establishments, the development that is truly coveted by transportation infrastructure investment will require many millions in investment deals, such as new industry (fresh water), multi-national corporate headquarters, the proposed Marcus Theater complex on Water St., a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks, anchor mega stores such as Target to finally come to downtown, ways to take our summer festivals to another incredible level, and incentive for more home ownership in the downtown area, not start-up boutiques and restaurants. And to compare the streetcar to a trend as simplistic and superficial as platform shoes and cosmopolitans is to suggest that U.S. cities such as Denver and Seattle – both smaller cities than Milwaukee in population but greater cities in overall acknowledgement, investment and high standards of living – are awaiting failure once the trend subsides. To say that a fixed line shouldn’t be installed because a likely construction need will temporarily suspend ridership in that specific area suggests that beautiful and successfully envied cities such as Melbourne, Shanghai, Berlin, Amsterdam, and Boston are short-sighted and are simply awaiting failure once a water main breaks. (Btw – for those ready to argue socialist scare tactics, the economic woes that are plaguing cities all across the globe are not initially or directly caused by their self-invested transportation infrastructure.) Finally, one thing that is more difficult to argue, I agree, that is fundamentally important, is the stigma that buses carry – though again this is related more to out-of-city visitors than local residents, though I’m certain it’ll affect many of the latter as well: buses carry the stigma of being unsafe, shady, and nerve-racking – due to both the riders and the locations of drop offs, whereas light rail (streetcars), on a fixed route, provide the feelings of normalcy and security due to anticipated (fixed) routes, easily seen on maps throughout the city. There have been so many times have I traveled to Chicago and suggested my group hop on a bus to a particular destination. My friends would intervene and say, “I’m not getting on one of those nasty buses. Let’s take the ‘El’ and then walk the extra 10 blocks.” These same friends, Milwaukee residents, won’t step onto a MCTS bus if their life depended on it, but the moment a streetcar is available or a light rail line running to the suburbs, I’ve been told they’ll be the first, with their lattes and iPhones in tow. It’s an unfortunate reality and I do not agree with it, but you cannot ask these “other” people to grow up, suck it up and “just take the bus.” It will never happen, and until Milwaukee decides to step into the “20th Century,” and grow to satisfy more than the local residents who are satisfied with a few new restaurants and boutiques, we’ll never enter the 21st Century.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Let me respectfully disagree. Barrett has long since shown his preference for a rail system in the city. In ground systems are cheaper, more environmentally sound and a better investment than buses on some routes. The “streetcar” is perfect urban answer to public transportation. It spurs economic development in a thoughtful integrated transportation system that includes bus, rail and pedestrian alternates. The connector when fleshed out to cover the major corridors of the city will enhance the opportunities for bus only routes (If the county can preserve any part of the bus system)
    Im sure everyone is tired of being compared to Europe, Seattle, Portland, Washington DC, but there’s a reason. Light rail, streetcars work and they work well

  4. Anonymous says:

    This article appears to be written as a knee-jerk reaction to something the author doesn’t seem have a full grasp of. Notably, the author seems to miss three key things, an understanding of the streetcar technology itself, a vision for how the transit technologies work together, and the economics of mass transit in Milwaukee.

    Not having a firm grasp on those things is perfectly okay. Writing an article dismissing the addition of a transportation option without all of the facts is not.

    Modern streetcars provide a ride quality that buses simply can not match. The steel wheels and rails provide a smoother ride than a standard bus. The electric engine provides a quieter ride than a normal bus (and is therefore more quiet for those in the buildings around it). The low-floor makes boarding easy to enter and exit, especially for handicapped individuals compared to a bus. The low-floor also creates a smoother ride as a hydraulic system isn’t necessary to raise and lower the bus. Perhaps most importantly, streetcars provide a sense of place through the rails in the ground. It’s easy to understand the route, much easier than with a bus.

    Modern streetcars are excellent at connecting nearby neighborhoods. They’re easy to get on and off of, they’re smooth, quiet, and predictable (no detours). The lower East Side, East Town, Historic Third Ward, and Westown are a logic starting point for a streetcar line. They’re dense, walkable (inside of each neighborhood), and have a residential or jobs density that makes transit use ideal. And if for some unforeseen reason a detour is needed, a temporary bus route can be introduced to route around a collapsed bridge or similar problem (a problem that nearby Chicago handles with ease whenever it arises).

    How do streetcars work with other transit technologies? Look no further than cities that have implemented them (Seattle, Portland, Tacoma, a lot of Europe) for guidance. Streetcars, again, are designed for connecting nearby neighborhoods. You wouldn’t want to use the technology to cross the metro region. Enter buses and light rail.

    The referenced routes 10, 15, and 18 should be part of a balanced transportation system, and the streetcar will make them more efficient. Imagine if you will, a future where instead of a stop every-other-block downtown, the bus can cruise into downtown and drop you off at one of a few key points. From there you can walk or take the streetcar to your destination (using the arrival countdown timer at the station to decide). The buses will become more efficient because as their speed can increase through downtown (a major bottleneck).

    Viewing the system as what it is now robs you of the ability to benefit from a backbone like a streetcar system. Bus routes can be adjusted to serve riders coming into downtown more efficiently by altering their routes to avoid paralleling the streetcar, and instead intersect at key points.

    In a future with high-speed rail (an extended Hiawatha line) and the KRM commuter rail line both coming into the Intermodal Station (and the present with the Hiawatha dropping off passengers there already), how do the passengers circulate around downtown? Expensive cabs? The infrequent and maligned (it doesn’t serve much of downtown) route 57? Enter the backbone of the system, the streetcar. The streetcar will connect departures from Milwaukee’s densest neighborhoods to the station and arrivals to everywhere downtown.

    Last comes the hardest part to understand, the economics of transit in Milwaukee. MCTS is currently funded off the backs of county property tax payers (which includes renters), and is one of the last major systems in the country to do so. A switch to a sales tax has been proposed in the form of a regional transit authority (which would also run the KRM line). Despite current troubles getting the legislation passed, it’s likely that at least Milwaukee County will fund transit with a sales tax in the next ten years (if not Racine and Kenosha as well).

    Why is such a switch necessary? Paying it out of the general Milwaukee County fund is not working, and the bus system is about to go off a cliff in terms of service availability. Serious reductions in service are coming due to necessary capital expenditures (for which budgeted federal funds have been spent to near zero over the past 10 years by the County Board and County Executive). Stimulus funds delayed this problem by a year by purchasing a stop-gap number of new buses, but 2011 is shaping up to be a very bad year for MCTS. The system itself has been in a death spiral with route cuts and fare increases for the past ten years, and the coming cuts are going to make the past ten years look good. MCTS needs help, and at the moment it’s not clear where it’s going to get it, but that doesn’t mean everything else should be put on hold.

    High-speed rail, a completely separate issue is likewise moving forward with all federal dollars (designated only for HSR, if we don’t use them, they just go to another state).

    And now, enter 1991’s federal designated, non-interest gaining $289 million for capital improvements to mass transit. A large portion of that was spent on a variety of projects with federal approval (notably the Mchange, 6th Street Viaduct, and Park East removal), leaving $91.5 that the feds have mandated Milwaukee spends on capital improvements to mass transit (another deal to use it for something else is unlikely). The County and City couldn’t agree what to do with it, so Herb Kohl, Dave Obey, and others had it split 60% for Milwaukee to build a starter streetcar system and 40% for Milwaukee County to build express bus routes.

    The city is finally planning to use their recently designated funds (March 2009) to build a streetcar starter system. Money used for construction of the system will not compete with the any money that was to be used for MCTS. Furthermore, as planned in the absence of a regional transit authority, the streetcar will use only city funds to operate. It doesn’t compete with MCTS for funds.

    Furthermore, good transportation planning by both parties could insure that they also do not compete for riders and would enhance each system’s service (operating to users as essentially one system). This works well for riders in Portland and Seattle.

    You can, and should, support both the bus and streetcar. Support sales tax funding and regional governance for a legitimate regional transit system for southeastern Wisconsin. Support the construction of a backbone of an urban transit system with the addition of a streetcar line that serves Milwaukee’s densest neighborhoods. Support a balanced, regional transit system that delivers the right service types (be it streetcar, bus, or commuter rail) in the right spot.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the comments, but my opinion in a short sentence is anything this streetcar can do, the bus can do as well or better. As I said in my piece, we should make the bus “cool” again, instead of insisting on the “flavor of the day.” Tell your friends that you would rather take the bus, instead of walking ten blocks from the “El.”

    I’d love the hot, little hip car at International Motors. I’m sure I’d look great and all my friends would want to ride along. But I’m a true Milwaukeean who is frugal and whose head isn’t turned by the latest trend and my late model sedan works just fine.

    Just because Europe, New Orleans or Seattle has something doesn’t mean we need to have it. To quote every mother who has ever lived “If your friend jumps off a bridge, does that mean you should do it?

    Development- retail, financial, clean technology, etc. will come with reliable mass transit opportunities and in this town mass transit means buses, which are more adaptable than any fixed-track form of transit.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Jeramey, I respect your opinion on this, but as a former elected official, funding is always a zero sum game. I agree that transit funding is completely screwed up and should be moved off the back of property taxpayers, but all money (federal grants, state aid, etc.) comes from taxpayers. If you want to spend money on something new, you have to give up something old.
    Instead, let’s improve the current system. Your argument that the streetcar is smoother, quieter, etc. is something a spoiled child complains about. We need to consider that the bus can be cheap, reliable public transportation. My Toyota creaks and bounces about. I’d love a smooth Maybach sedan with all the bells and whistles, but I don’t have the money and taxpayers don’t have the money to build, support and expand a duplicate transit system.
    Buses can get around neighborhoods, the routes are understandable -just look at the route map, and are currently in dense walkable neighborhoods.
    To say I don’t understand the issue is insulting, I just don’t agree with your viewpoint on the problem. My understanding comes from years serving in government and from years of writing checks to the government for my portion of public services. I don’t mind paying for something that works, I do mind paying for something that duplicates already existing services.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I disagree with this statement “if you want to spend money on something new, you have to give something up”. First, it’s factually incorrect, because you can always raise more money without giving existing services up. Second, it implies again that the two services would come out of the same pool of money, which isn’t accurate.

    The streetcar capital costs are set to be paid for by federally available funds and a city contribution (likely through the use of TIF funds on nearby projects). The operating expenses will be paid for by the City of Milwaukee (likely through a mix of sources including the parking fund, property taxes, and fees).

    Milwaukee County Transit System is paid for and managed by Milwaukee County. It is funded by the county’s portion of the property tax levy, a separate fund from the cities.

    Your attempt to equate me to a spoiled child wanting something I can’t afford doesn’t hold much water, because if I’m the city of Milwaukee, I have $54 million from my uncle Sam. Almost all of the money is in hand, and I have tools to get the rest. Furthermore, investing it in the city, as a streetcar line would be, will encourage development (as the other streetcar lines in the US have shown over the past 20 years).

    I listed why buses don’t work as well on simple neighborhood to neighborhood connections as well. They have to raise and lower to board/, they’re not as smooth, they have to weave in and out of traffic.

    You listed the flexibility of buses as an asset. This is true in some situations, in this case the buses can be rerouted so they work efficiently with the streetcar. No duplication, instead lots of well-planned transfer points.

    We do need to consider that the bus can be cheap, reliable public transportation, but we also need to consider that a good transportation system has a backbone and multiple modes of service.

    Using money Milwaukee already has earmarked to invest in one service doesn’t mean any less money will go towards investing in the other.

  8. Anonymous says:

    But, Patti – what about all the nasty smoke that buses put out? There’s of course got to be pollution emitted by streetcar energy consumption somewhere, but at least it’s not choking people behind one. You have to at least admit that electric streetcars are much cleaner and more reliable than buses.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Patti, when is the last time you have ridden an MCTS bus? Have you ever rode a modern streetcar in the United States? The comparison between the quality of the two is not close, even if the bus is brand new.

    The idea that paying for the streetcar would gut the bus system is ridiculous, since they would come from two different funding sources.

    Adaptable transit means multi-modal transit. Right technology at the right place at the right price. In West Allis, buses make sense, downtown a streetcar certainly makes sense. Streetcars drive economic development that buses simply don’t, and encourage ridership that buses simply can’t.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Last time on an MCTS bus – Jan. 2008 through Oct. 2009 when I commuted from my job on 124th and North to home on 78th and Becher at least twice a week. (That included a transfer at Hwy 100 and Lincoln)

    Started riding the bus in 1969 as a 4-year-old when my grandmother taught me to ride on the 19. In turn, I taught my friends how to use the bus so we could go to Southridge and Northridge in middle school and high school. I take the bus to Summerfest because I hate to hassle with parking and driving out of that mess.

    Rode the Chicago “El” with my son while we college toured in 2006, used the train/subway system in Washington D.C. during vacations and even have been on the Kenosha streetcar and the little trolley bus here in Milwaukee. And we won’t count the numerous trips around the country and back and forth to Madison on coach buses, the trips back and forth to Sheboygan to visit my brother when I was 12 on the Greyhound and how I traveled from West Virginia to Wisconsin and back when I was first married to visit my family a couple of times, again on the Greyhound.

    In 41 years, I’ve logged plenty of miles on public and for-profit buses. Plus the Hiawatha to Chicago for shopping.

    In addition, my husband will ride the bus to the various hospitals he is chaplain for, instead of taking his car or when the weather is too inclement to ride his bike. My son has a UPass and rides MCTS to get from UWM to his volunteer job at the Blood Center at Marquette or to West Allis for a hot meal. My 16 year old daughter rides the bus to and from Cudahy and South Milwaukee to visit friends and they often hop on the 15 to hit the East Side. She now rides the bus on 76th street to get from our house to her job at Gilles.

    Shall I go on? Do I have the appropriate bono fides to comment on the transit issues in your eyes Jeramey? I do apologize because I also own a 2005 Toyota Corolla and a 1999 Honda Odyssey.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Since you asked, I would say you don’t. You haven’t ridden a modern streetcar. Nor did you mention a single light rail system (St. Louis, Cleveland, and Minneapolis being the three nearest to Milwaukee). So while I applaud your past use of mass transit, I don’t think you’ve experienced any system built in the past 30 years (with the exception of the retro Kenosha streetcar).

    Also, your blog seems to suggest you haven’t ridden a bus in 15 years.

    http://govfreak.wordpress.com/2010/04/12/in-need-of-transition/

    ****Jeramey, since I can’t seem to respond to you anymore – sorry for the inconsistency from my blog. What I wrote in this thread is accurate with the addition that I have been on the Minneapolis system. Nice train, but let’s work on MCTS before adding the City of Milwaukee Transit System. P

  12. Anonymous says:

    Ummmm it doesn’t “duplicate” anything. It adds to the system.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Being that we can’t seem to get anything really going in this region when it comes to transit, it’s probably best to work on as many different things as possible so at least one of them actually happens (HSR, KRM, streetcar, RTA, BRT).

  14. Anonymous says:

    Jeramey Jannene’s well-written responses have covered all the ground I could hope to tread myself.

  15. Anonymous says:

    What bus gets me from the third ward to the courthouse? Or water street? or the lakefront. And if I work on Water Street how do I get to Brady Street quick?

    What is wrong with more mobility? Its better for workers, its better for visitors (who can take the bus downtown and a trolley everywhere else) and may lighten traffic and open up some more parking.

    It makes Milwaukee more attractive for everyone, except people who have no interest in Milwaukee. Sorry, Milwaukee is not run for people who hate Milwaukee.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Mil_73 & Jeramey Jannene have got it just about right. “Multi-modal” is not a swear word, it’s a design for a transportation _system_ around the countryside & city. Consider the usefulness of buses in conjunction with the light rail connector. The idea is to use autos (with highways) where they work well, buses where they work well, streetcars where they work well, and commuter trains where they work well. The fact that buses now manage around downtown Milwaukee does not necessarily mean they “work well’ there, compared to what a streetcar loop would do. I would suggest that on the face of it, buses today dont’ do as well as streetcars will.

    Many people really do have an emotional aversion to buses that doesn’t exist with street cars; I’m not altogether sure why, but it has existed for a long time in many cities. And keep in mind, Ms. Wenzel, those people tend to have more disposable income and spend it in places they can get to conveniently. Younger members of this group tend to settle where transportation is favorable & reliable. Older members of this group also like light rail’s reliability, as evidenced in the April issue of the AARP Bulletin. As the cost of automobile transportation goes up (now over $9,000/year), the appeal of an urban vs. a suburban or exurban environment is greater & greater.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Buses burn oil, and America is addicted to oil, as both presidents Obama and Bush have said. The results of the “drill, baby, drill” mentality are all too obvious in the Gulf as I type. America’s 20-million-barrel-per-day oil habit threatens our economy, national security and environment. Consumption will soon rise to 28.3 million barrels of oil a day, with 70 percent of it imported. This makes America increasingly dependent on some of the least stable, undemocratic countries in the world. 40 percent is used by passenger vehicles. The U.S. passenger vehicle fleet alone accounts for one-tenth of world petroleum consumption. Worse, fuel economy of the car/light truck fleet peaked in 1987 and has essentially been declining since then due to outdated standards and increased sales of fuel-wasting SUVs and other light trucks. Electricity is domestic, generated here in America by Americans. Streetcars are quiet, clean, and reliable, and long-lasting, unlike buses, and they’re something that people like to use.

  18. Anonymous says:

    In all of the negative feedback, no one has been able to explain why a clean, pretty looking bus with a fixed route, elevated stops, and signal priority wouldn’t provide all of the benefits that the more expensive fixed rail would provide. President Obama’s FTA chief broke it down nicely in a recent speech: http://www.fta.dot.gov/news/speeches/news_events_11682.html

    Yes, the “it” factor and novelty are HUGE for supporters of transit, whether they admit it in fora like this or not. And they don’t mind dedicating the city to millions of dollars in added costs (that merely does what a pretty bus could do) for something that caters to a limited population, whom all more or less look alike if you know what I mean. Those taxes get paid by everyone in the city, even “those people” who ride the bus and are apparently the reason that white people on the east ride don’t like the bus, according to Mil_73.

    In a time when all governments that serve Milwaukee residents are in serious fiscal distress, the response should not be to take a more expensive than necessary route to linking up downtown and providing a transit “backbone.” If the streetcar is useful in its merits, and I’m sure it is, just use a cheaper alternative.

    Streetcar supporters then trot out the development card in arguing for “tracks on the ground.” Ironically, with the one-upness of these comments, that shows a fundamental ignorance in the area of economics. Streetcars don’t create economic activity out of thin air to any significant degree, and no one with even a basic understanding of actual economics would think otherwise. What they will do is concentrate economic activity that would have happened anyway along the route. While that can certainly be a good thing, cute enough buses with elevated stops and any other bells and whistles necessary to get white people comfortable riding would likely have a similar impact. Even if not, the mere concentration of development is not enough to justify the additional costs.

    Milwaukee has plenty of areas that could desperately use an investment, as we all well know. The streetcar backers have some twisted priorities that can’t be justified when presented with the “pretty bus” alternative, a real look at the connection between transit and development, and the comparative importance of a streetcar (over a pretty bus) and the other more important things that the money could pay for. The “money” in this case being the somewhat regressive property taxes that would be paying for this downtown toy. The startup funds are limited for transportation use, but that’s still a large area where numerous other, better investments could be made around the city.

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