Donovan’s New Anti-Streetcar Allies
After three press releases in three days, the alderman holds a news conference with new right-wing allies.
It’s been a busy week for Alderman Bob Donovan. With three press releases in as many days, and a press conference today that will show up on the nightly news, Alderman Donovan sought to grab the spotlight while many of his colleagues are out of town.
Donovan started the week with a press release that began by stating he was on vacation, and ended with him attacking the Mayor… for being on vacation. He followed up with another press release on Tuesday, again attacking the Mayor. Wednesday he issued yet another press release, this time announcing a press conference to be held with representatives from two anti-streetcar groups. At his Thursday morning press conference, he announced he was expanding his anti-streetcar petition to the suburbs and the internet.
The press conference didn’t yield much new information regarding Donovan’s long-standing opposition to the Common Council approved project. The alderman announced he again intends to introduce legislation asking for a referendum on the project, something his colleagues have voted down in the past. Donovan also reiterated his belief that 70 percent of Milwaukee residents oppose the project, but after questioning admitted it wasn’t based on empirical evidence.
Brett Healy, President of the conservative MacIver Institute of Public Policy, spoke about a study it conducted on the streetcar that relied on research by the noted transit critic Randal O’Toole. Healy criticized the projected farebox revenues, and also blasted the subsidies for the Pearl District in Portland (which he failed to note went for things like brownfield cleanup and roads).
For those that have been following the streetcar debate closely, it was Healy, as a citizen of Oconomowoc, who petitioned the Public Service Commission to rule on who is responsible (the City of Milwaukee or We Energies) for paying the relocation costs for utilities. A decision that the city is liable for the costs could force changes to the streetcar system, but also might open up Pandora’s box whereby even small road projects across a utility’s service area could be opposed by citizens of other municipalities.
Luke Hilgemann, Wisconsin Director of Americans for Prosperity, the Tea Party-affliated group with support from the Koch brothers, was on hand to speak about the release of a new anti-streetcar online petition. The campaign is called A Streetcar Named Disaster and is targeted at collecting online signatures.
Meanwhile, the campaign for old-fashioned, handwritten petitions that Donovan had in the past said he was working on appears to have taken a back seat. Donovan didn’t say why, but we’re guessing an open-ended online petition could attract a lot more signatures from suburbanites who are anti-transit.
Press Conference Photo Gallery
For more project details, including the project timeline, financing, route and possible extensions, see our extensive past coverage.
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Is A Couture Deal Finally Coming? - Jeramey Jannene - May 13th, 2020
- Transportation: SUV Driver Runs Into The Hop - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 28th, 2020
- Transportation: Streetcar Kiosks Could Bring In $500,000 Annually - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 20th, 2020
- Thanks A Million, Hop Riders! - The Hop - Feb 19th, 2020
- Transportation: We Energies Will Sponsor Streetcar - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 10th, 2020
- Transportation: Streetcar Ridership Up in January Versus 2019 - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 7th, 2020
- Transportation: Streetcar Ridership Up in December - Jeramey Jannene - Jan 14th, 2020
- Transportation: Ridership Falls for The Hop - Jeramey Jannene - Dec 16th, 2019
- Transportation: The “Holiday Hop” Streetcar Debuts - Jeramey Jannene - Nov 21st, 2019
- No money for police, lead hazard issues or infrastructure, but let’s pump up the streetcar we can’t afford - Ald. Tony Zielinski - Nov 1st, 2019
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