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.
- Transportation: Feds Don’t Select Milwaukee For Streetcar Grant - Jeramey Jannene - Aug 11th, 2022
- Transportation: Art Campaign Highlights Milwaukee, New York Teens - Jeramey Jannene - Aug 1st, 2022
- Transportation: City Seeking Grant For Streetcar Convention Center Extension - Jeramey Jannene - Jul 15th, 2022
- The Hop Returns To Full Service - Jeramey Jannene - Jun 21st, 2022
- Transportation: Streetcar Service Goes From Bad To Worse - Jeramey Jannene - May 3rd, 2022
- Transportation: Should National Avenue Rebuild Include Plans for Streetcar? - Jeramey Jannene - Apr 8th, 2022
- Transportation: Maintenance Issues Reduce The Hop’s Schedule - Jeramey Jannene - Apr 4th, 2022
- Transportation: Congress Extends Streetcar Grant - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 16th, 2022
- City Needs Act of Congress Because of Couture-Streetcar Delay - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 1st, 2022
- Transportation: Streetcar Study Draws Controversy - Jeramey Jannene - Jul 27th, 2021
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