Could Milwaukee Build A Foxconn City?
Committee explores annexing portion of Racine County for a satellite city.
“What is the ability of the City of Milwaukee to annex real estate in another county? I thought the answer would be a shrug and a ‘that can’t happen.’ Turns out, that can happen!”
Those were the exuberant words of Alderman Robert Bauman as he explained to members of the city’s Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee how the city might construct a satellite city in Racine County to house workers for the proposed 20-million square feet Foxconn factory campus.
The alderman is exploring the idea as an alternative to finding a way to transport potentially thousands of city residents to the south Racine County facility every day. The transit advocate is concerned that there hasn’t been public discussion about how to transport city residents to the facility or about building workforce housing near the facility. He pegs the subsidy amount for Foxconn as well in excess of the $3 billion figure usually used, yet he notes nothing is being discussed for transportation beyond adding a lane to Interstate 94.
Bauman had asked the City Attorney’s office to investigate the feasibility of establishing a satellite city incorporated as part of Milwaukee. Jeremy McKenzie told the committee “when I first got the assignment I thought there is probably no way to do this.” The assistant city attorney detailed six conditions that would need to be satisfied to make an annexation happen for land that wasn’t contiguous with the city.
- The land would have to be lying near, but not necessarily contiguous with the city.
- The land to be annexed must be owned by the city.
- The land must be in a town, and not a village, city or other incorporated entity.
- The town board must approve a resolution approving the annexation.
- The Racine County Board of Supervisors would need to approve the annexation.
- A boundary agreement governing the specific borders would need to be entered into by the city.
Bauman has zeroed in on the Town of Yorkville for study. The town is immediately west of the proposed Foxconn site, located just across Interstate 94. He says the city has a role to play because it’s unlikely Mt. Pleasant or Yorkville are going to construct affordable housing.
“Personally I would prefer the investment in transit to get our people there and back” says the alderman, but short of that he thinks the city should explore annexing the land to provide ready access to well-paying jobs for impoverished city residents. Should the annexation prove too complex, the city could still enter into a partnership through the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee with a private developer to construct affordable housing in the area and provide opportunity to current city residents.
How likely is Bauman’s version of the idea to happen? Not very, but it helps elevate the looming issue of transporting thousands of workers to Racine County and the Foxconn facility. Even Gov. Scott Walker, who negotiated the Foxconn deal, seems concerned about the matter. The state has recently begun an advertising campaign in Illinois to attempt to attract new residents.
The reality of the situation isn’t likely to be lost on Foxconn. The company, which operates even larger plants in Asia, is likely to explore building their own “smart city” as part of the development. To accommodate thousands of workers and their families on the proposed campus, Foxconn would need to build housing at a density level seen on Milwaukee’s East Side, if not higher. The appetite for the formerly small towns to engage in such development is unclear.
Department of City Development Deputy Commissioner Martha Brown didn’t outright dismiss Bauman’s idea, but said her office prefers to see the workers live in Milwaukee and bring their earnings back to the city.
Amtrak to the Rescue?
One opportunity to establish a mass transit link to the area could come through an existing transit line. Amtrak’s Hiawatha Service currently operates on tracks that bisect a portion of the 1,000-plus acre Foxconn site. Fourteen trains a day currently cross the site, seven from Illinois and seven from downtown Milwaukee. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is finalizing a study that would allow that number to increase to 20 daily.
Representatives of the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission were at the city ZND committee meeting and Bauman noted that WisDOT “almost (has) a shovel-ready program to utilize existing infrastructure, add three round trips a day, 10 total.” He then asked SEWRPC Deputy Director Kevin Muhs “Has anyone mentioned this?” Muhs told the alderman “it’s been mentioned, but not by those authorized to make those decisions.” SEWRPC will help study and recommend transportation options for the plant, but it will ultimately be up to elected officials and Foxconn to fund any transportation plan.
Although it’s undoubtedly complex, the Hiawatha alternative seems more reasonable than the city constructing a satellite neighborhood. It would avoid further highway congestion, leverage an existing rail line and passenger service and allow the Milwaukee County Transit System to funnel riders towards the existing Milwaukee Intermodal Station in downtown Milwaukee.
Would the Governor support such a measure? Bauman notes that Walker’s powerful lieutenant, the Department of Administration Secretary Scott Neitzel, in a conversation with the alderman characterized transit as “a government solution” to the workforce problem. Bauman told the committee “You spend $3 billion on attracting a private company and you think transit is a government solution?” Bauman said Neitzel discussed a strategy involving privately-operated vans transporting people to the complex.
Expect more debate on this issue until the state endorses a solution.
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More about the Foxconn Facility
- Resolution seeks to spare Milwaukee We Energies ratepayers from huge Foxconn bill - Ald. Bob Bauman - Jan 17th, 2018
- Governor Walker Announces Wisconsin Career Creator Plan to Support Long-Term Workforce Development Needs - Gov. Scott Walker - Jan 17th, 2018
- Wisconsin State Director of Strategic Economic Initiatives, Matthew Moroney to speak on the FOXCONN Development at AGC Corporate Dinner - Associated General Contractors of Greater Milwaukee - Jan 16th, 2018
- WisDOT soliciting bids for WIS 20 road work in Racine County - Wisconsin Department of Transportation - Jan 10th, 2018
- Op Ed: Foxconn’s Low Return on State Investment - John Torinus - Jan 8th, 2018
- Matt Flynn Attacks Green Light Given to Foxconn to Pollute Wetlands - Matt Flynn - Jan 4th, 2018
- Eyes on Milwaukee: City May Contest Foxconn Electricity Deal - Jeramey Jannene - Jan 4th, 2018
- Public Works Committee to discuss rate hike to fund work at Racine’s Foxconn facility - Ald. Bob Bauman - Jan 2nd, 2018
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Will Milwaukeeans Pay for Foxconn Power? - Jeramey Jannene - Dec 27th, 2017
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Should City Buy 500 Acres in Racine County? - Jeramey Jannene - Dec 23rd, 2017
- Murphy’s Law: Foxconn Subsidy Now Exceeds $4 Billion - Bruce Murphy - Dec 21st, 2017
- Gov. Walker’s Foxconn Scam Already Starting to Unravel as News Breaks of Additional $134 Million Cost to Taxpayers - State Rep. Dana Wachs - Dec 16th, 2017
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Could Milwaukee Build A Foxconn City? - Jeramey Jannene - Dec 13th, 2017
- State Senator Janis Ringhand statement on Foxconn earnings report - State Sen. Janis Ringhand - Nov 15th, 2017
- Foxconn Signing Is a Love Fest - Graham Kilmer - Nov 13th, 2017
- Andy Gronik Statement on Gov. Scott Walker’s Re-Election Foxconn Hail Mary - Andy Gronik - Nov 10th, 2017
- Governor Walker, Foxconn Chairman Gou Sign Historic Agreement to Bring $10 Billion World-Class Advanced Manufacturing Campus, 13,000 Jobs to Wisconsin - Gov. Scott Walker - Nov 10th, 2017
- One Wisconsin Now Statements on Gov. Walker Signing Contract to Implement Largest State Giveaway to A Foreign Corporation in U.S. History - One Wisconsin Now - Nov 10th, 2017
- Gov. Walker’s re-election Hail Mary falls short - State Sen. Jennifer Shilling - Nov 10th, 2017
- The Art of a Desperate Deal - Democratic Party of Wisconsin - Nov 10th, 2017
- Walker Accepts $3 Billion Liability, Rejects Accountability - State Sen. Lena Taylor - Nov 10th, 2017
- Murphy’s Law: Walker Retreats From Foxconn Deal - Bruce Murphy - Nov 9th, 2017
- Top Ten Reasons Wisconsin Got Conned - State Sen. Tim Carpenter - Nov 8th, 2017
- Matt Flynn Statement on the Foxconn Contract - Matt Flynn - Nov 8th, 2017
- Back in the News: WEDC Shifts on Foxconn Contract - Bruce Murphy - Nov 8th, 2017
- Democrats Continue to Lead the Fight to Protect Taxpayers on Foxconn - State Rep. Dianne Hesselbein - Nov 7th, 2017
- Rep. Sargent’s Statement on Second Request for Public Review of Foxconn Contract, WEDC Board’s Two-Day Review - State Rep. Melissa Sargent - Nov 7th, 2017
- WEDC — Seeing Contract Today, A Good First Step, Taxpayer Protection Still Top Priority - State Sen. Tim Carpenter - Nov 6th, 2017
- WisDOT applies for federal Infrastructure For Rebuilding America Grant - Wisconsin Department of Transportation - Oct 31st, 2017
- Gov. Scott Walker’s Foxconn Deal Widely Unpopular Amongst Wisconsinites - Andy Gronik - Oct 26th, 2017
- Murphy’s Law: The Secrets of Foxconn - Bruce Murphy - Oct 26th, 2017
- Matt Flynn Makes Statement on the Corrupt Handling of the Foxconn Contract by Walker’s WEDC - Matt Flynn - Oct 25th, 2017
- Walker jobs agency leaves taxpayers in the dark - State Sen. Jennifer Shilling - Oct 25th, 2017
- Op Ed: Can WEDC Oversee Foxconn Deal? - State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout - Oct 25th, 2017
- The WEDC: As Transparent as Trump with his Tax Return - State Rep. Jimmy Anderson - Oct 24th, 2017
- WEDC Audit Poses New Concerns on Foxconn Deal - State Sen. Lena Taylor - Oct 24th, 2017
- Audit of Walker jobs agency intensifies Foxconn concerns - State Sen. Jennifer Shilling - Oct 24th, 2017
- New poll shows Milwaukee area’s divided feelings on Foxconn, views on other topics as Marquette Law School launches expanded public policy program - Marquette University - Oct 24th, 2017
- Walker Administration Keeps Details of Foxconn Deal Secret as Agency Entrusted With Overseeing Deal Subject of Another Critical Review - One Wisconsin Now - Oct 24th, 2017
- Andy Gronik Urges WEDC To Release Foxconn Contract Details Before Vote, Collect Public Feedback - Andy Gronik - Oct 23rd, 2017
- Wisconsin Can’t Afford Another Foxconn “Nuclear Bomb” - Democratic Party of Wisconsin - Oct 20th, 2017
- What are Walker and Foxconn hiding? - Democratic Party of Wisconsin - Oct 17th, 2017
- Foxconn gamble shrouded in secrecy - State Sen. Jennifer Shilling - Oct 16th, 2017
- Court Watch: Foxconn Law Transforms State Courts - Margo Kirchner - Oct 12th, 2017
- Walker and Forty-Fifth President Sweeten Deal for Foxconn - State Sen. Lena Taylor - Sep 28th, 2017
- Walker picks Foxconn over Wisconsin schools and roads - State Sen. Jennifer Shilling - Sep 18th, 2017
- Governor Walker Signs Wisconn Valley Special Session Bill into Law - Gov. Scott Walker - Sep 18th, 2017
- The State of Politics: Mr. Gou – Your Turn - Steven Walters - Sep 18th, 2017
- Governor Walker Applauds Legislature for Approving Wisconn Valley Special Session Bill - Gov. Scott Walker - Sep 14th, 2017
- Governor Walker Releases Statement on Bipartisan Senate Passage of Wisconn Valley Special Session Legislation - Gov. Scott Walker - Sep 12th, 2017
- WEDC’s Poor Jobs Accountability Record Makes Foxconn Deal a Scandal Waiting to Happen - Citizen Action of Wisconsin - Sep 11th, 2017
- Op Ed: Foxconn Deal Suspends Judicial Rules - Wisconsin Democracy Campaign - Sep 11th, 2017
- GOP Puts $3 Billion Foxconn Thumb on Scales of Justice - One Wisconsin Now - Sep 5th, 2017
- Op Ed: Foxconn Multiplier Overstates New Jobs - William L. Holahan and Charles O. Kroncke - Sep 2nd, 2017
- Walker administration misleads on environmental rollbacks for Foxconn - State Rep. Katrina Shankland - Aug 31st, 2017
- Murphy’s Law: Newest Deal Shows Foxconn Flaws - Bruce Murphy - Aug 29th, 2017
- The State of Politics: Would Democratic Governor Kill Foxconn Deal? - Steven Walters - Aug 28th, 2017
- Op Ed: Illinois Loves Our Foxconn Deal - State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout - Aug 26th, 2017
- Biking: Foxconn, Biking and State Roads - Dave Cieslewicz - Aug 25th, 2017
- Op Ed: Foxconn Should Embrace Green Goals - John Torinus - Aug 24th, 2017
- Washington State Representative Offers Warning for Wisconsin on Foxconn - One Wisconsin Now - Aug 24th, 2017
- Murphy’s Law: Paper Peddles Bogus Foxconn Report - Bruce Murphy - Aug 23rd, 2017
- Representative Lisa Subeck Calls on Joint Finance Committee Co-Chairs to Focus on Budget, Prioritize People over Profits - State Rep. Lisa Subeck - Aug 22nd, 2017
- Governor Walker Highlights Opportunities Foxconn Brings for Wisconsin’s Healthcare Industry - Gov. Scott Walker - Aug 22nd, 2017
- The State of Politics: Foxconn Biggest Deal in State History - Steven Walters - Aug 21st, 2017
- Statewide Online Tool Assists Wisconsin Companies Seeking to Do Business with Foxconn - Gov. Scott Walker - Aug 21st, 2017
- The Senate Must be The Grownups in the Room… Again. - State Sen. Tim Carpenter - Aug 21st, 2017
- Op Ed: The Many Broken Promises of Foxconn - State Rep. David Bowen - Aug 20th, 2017
- Rep. Goyke Statement on Foxconn Special Session Bill - State Rep. Evan Goyke - Aug 18th, 2017
- Wisconsin Budget: Foxconn Could Take Till 2058 To Pay Off - Jon Peacock - Aug 18th, 2017
- Governor Walker Releases Statement on Bipartisan Assembly Passage of Wisconn Valley Special Session Legislation - Gov. Scott Walker - Aug 18th, 2017
- Republican Agenda Puts Corporate Welfare Package for Taiwanese Company Ahead of our Public Schools - State Rep. Dianne Hesselbein - Aug 17th, 2017
- Rep. Sinicki Votes No on Foxconn Package - State Rep. Christine Sinicki - Aug 17th, 2017
- Statement from Rep. Barca on the Assembly Passage of Foxconn Bill - State Rep. Peter Barca - Aug 17th, 2017
- Facts on Foxconn Trump Proponents’ Protestations Deal Would Benefit Wisconsin - One Wisconsin Now - Aug 17th, 2017
- Foxconn Debate Cheat Sheet - State Rep. Gordon Hintz - Aug 17th, 2017
- $3 Billion Foxconn Boondoggle Sells Out Wisconsin’s Future to Foreign Corporation - State Rep. Lisa Subeck - Aug 17th, 2017
- Op Ed: How to Get a Better Deal From Foxconn - John Torinus - Aug 17th, 2017
- Data Wonk: Will Foxconn Deal Fight Poverty? - Bruce Thompson - Aug 16th, 2017
- Governor Walker Moderates Foxconn Roundtable Discussion in Green Bay - Gov. Scott Walker - Aug 16th, 2017
- Op Ed: Where Will Foxconn Find Workers? - State Rep. Gordon Hintz - Aug 16th, 2017
- Vukmir: The time is now for Foxconn - Assistant Majority Leader Leah Vukmir - Aug 15th, 2017
- Foxconn tax break could exceed $1 million per job - State Sen. Jennifer Shilling - Aug 14th, 2017
- Paul Ryan Challenger Opposes $3 Billion Corporate Handout to Foxconn - Cathy Myers - Aug 14th, 2017
- The State of Politics: 10 Tough Questions About Foxconn Deal - Steven Walters - Aug 14th, 2017
- Dana Wachs Announces Opposition to Foxconn Package - State Rep. Dana Wachs - Aug 13th, 2017
- Campaign Cash: Did Foxconn Lobby Illegally? - Wisconsin Democracy Campaign - Aug 12th, 2017
- Statement from Rep. Barca Regarding Republican Amendment to Foxconn Bill - State Rep. Peter Barca - Aug 11th, 2017
- Statement: Amendment to Special Session Assembly Bill 1 - Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos - Aug 11th, 2017
- Op Ed: Renegotiate the Foxconn Deal - Matt Flynn - Aug 11th, 2017
- Murphy’s Law: Walker’s Desperate Deal With Foxconn - Bruce Murphy - Aug 10th, 2017
- Foxconn Deal Flounders in State Legislature - One Wisconsin Now - Aug 10th, 2017
- If ‘Ifs’ and ‘Buts’ Are Candies and Nuts We’ll Have Foxconn Deal Paid Off in 2043 - One Wisconsin Now - Aug 9th, 2017
- Rep. Shankland: Statement on Foxconn Analysis - State Rep. Katrina Shankland - Aug 8th, 2017
- Foxconn Fiscal Analysis Deeply Troubling for Wisconsin Taxpayers - State Rep. David Crowley - Aug 8th, 2017
- Statement from Rep. Barca on New Fiscal Analysis of Proposed Foxconn Deal - State Rep. Peter Barca - Aug 8th, 2017
- Rep. Hintz Statement on Foxconn Cost to Taxpayers - State Rep. Gordon Hintz - Aug 8th, 2017
- Campaign Cash: Bill Has $10 Million Giveaway to Fiserv - Wisconsin Democracy Campaign - Aug 8th, 2017
- Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce Calls For Foxconn Project to Include Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses - Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce - Aug 7th, 2017
- Wisconsin Budget: The High Cost of Foxconn - Jon Peacock - Aug 4th, 2017
- What Does the Foxconn CEO Say About His Employees? - One Wisconsin Now - Aug 4th, 2017
- Foxconn Hearing: Big Promises, Little Details, Lacks Transportation Plan - State Rep. David Crowley - Aug 3rd, 2017
- One Wisconsin Now Testimony on Foxconn Subsidy Legislation - One Wisconsin Now - Aug 3rd, 2017
- No Guarantees to Prevent Wisconsin Tax Dollars From Subsidizing Illinois Jobs in Foxconn Deal - One Wisconsin Now - Aug 2nd, 2017
- Unnecessary to Sacrifice Natural Resources for Foxconn - Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters - Jul 31st, 2017
- Statement from Rep. Barca on Foxconn Developments - State Rep. Peter Barca - Jul 28th, 2017
- The Contrarian: Walker’s Reelection Now A Certainty - George Mitchell - Jul 28th, 2017
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Foxconn Loves Wisconsin, Walker - Jeramey Jannene - Jul 27th, 2017
- Governor Walker, Foxconn Founder and CEO Terry Gou Sign Memorandum of Understanding in Milwaukee - Gov. Scott Walker - Jul 27th, 2017
- REALTORS® Welcome Foxconn - Greater Milwaukee Association of REALTORS® - Jul 27th, 2017
- MATC Statement on Foxconn - Milwaukee Area Technical College - Jul 26th, 2017
- Statement from Rep. Barca on Foxconn Economic Development Announcement - State Rep. Peter Barca - Jul 26th, 2017
- Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele Statement on Foxconn Announcement - County Executive Chris Abele - Jul 26th, 2017
- Global High-Tech Manufacturer Foxconn Announces $10 Billion Investment, Will Create 13,000 Jobs in New Wisconsin Campus - Gov. Scott Walker - Jul 26th, 2017
- Foxconn Frenzy: Proceed with Caution - State Sen. Chris Larson - Jul 26th, 2017
- Shilling cautious on Foxconn announcement - State Sen. Jennifer Shilling - Jul 26th, 2017
- Op Ed: Loss of Talgo Train Hurts Foxconn Deal - James Rowen - Jul 20th, 2017
- Mayor Barrett Supports Siting Foxconn Facility in Southeastern Wisconsin - Mayor Tom Barrett - Jul 17th, 2017
- On the Air: How Likely Is It Foxconn Will Create 10,000 Jobs? - Urban Milwaukee - Jul 13th, 2017
- Murphy’s Law: Walker Building Yesterday’s Economy - Bruce Murphy - Jul 13th, 2017
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Foxconn Lands in Milwaukee - Jeramey Jannene - Jul 10th, 2017