Will Milwaukeeans Pay for Foxconn Power?
Yes, according to ATC spokesperson. Ald. Robert Bauman wants city to investigate issue.
At the center of Republican opposition to the Milwaukee Streetcar project was the notion that if utilities like We Energies had to pay to relocate their equipment in Milwaukee that would result in their suburban customers paying for the project. That belief led to a controversial case before the state’s Public Service Commission and ultimately a streetcar-specific change in state law. The city ended up having to pay all the relocation costs, a move that added over $15 million to the final price of the streetcar.
Now Alderman Robert Bauman is drawing attention to the potential that the same thing is happening in reverse with Foxconn in Racine County. Milwaukee customers are slated to be on the hook for paying for utility work to connect Foxconn’s 1,200-acre campus to the electric grid.
American Transmission Company, a private utility partially owned by We Energies parent WEC Energy Group, is proposing a $140 million project, including a substation and high voltage power lines to serve the proposed Foxconn campus. According to ATC that campus, which is planned to include up to 20 million square feet of buildings on the south side of Highway 11 in Racine County, would consume more than six times the energy used by the next largest factory in Wisconsin.
In an email to other city officials Bauman states “Ironically, we are building three substations for the streetcar that we are paying for, not all rate payers (not to mention the $15M in utility relocation costs we are paying for as well). I also know that many real estate developers have had to pay exorbitant costs for electric utility modifications to serve their developments, not rate payers.”
Bauman is sponsoring a communication file that requests the Department of Public Works and City Attorney’s office to report on “public works projects occurring outside of the limits of the City that may involve absorption of utility construction or relocation costs by We Energies rate payers residing in the city of Milwaukee.”
ATC must receive authorization from the Public Service Commission to move forward with the project. The city could object to the proposal, similar to what MacIver Institute President Brett Healy did in 2011 regarding the streetcar.
In 2014, Bauman introduced a file that would grant the City Attorney and Department of Public Works the discretion to object to “municipal public works projects in the We Energies service area that will involve absorption of utility relocation costs by We Energies.” That file directly cites the PSC’s ruling on the streetcar project as the reason for the authorization.
That file is still being held in committee. Bauman intends to bring it forward with the communication file.
The next meeting of the Public Works Committee, which Bauman chairs, is scheduled for January 4th.
The utility measure isn’t the only iron Bauman has in the fire regarding Foxconn. Earlier this month the alderman launched an investigation into the feasibility of building a satellite city for Milwaukee residents that will work for Foxconn. The Foxconn campus, which could employ up to 13,000 people, is proposed for a site over 25 miles from downtown Milwaukee. Bauman has stated his preference is for a robust transit system to connect the campus to Milwaukee, but short of that the city might need to invest in affordable housing near the campus.
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- Foxconn Deal Doesn’t Reduce Local Government Risk - Corri Hess - May 3rd, 2021
- Murphy’s Law: The True Costs of New Foxconn Deal - Bruce Murphy - Apr 28th, 2021
- The State of Politics: All Sides Won On New Foxconn Deal - Steven Walters - Apr 26th, 2021
- New Foxconn Deal Cuts Incentives By $2.77 Billion - Jeramey Jannene - Apr 20th, 2021
- Rep Hintz: Statement on Approval of Revised Foxconn Contract - State Rep. Gordon Hintz - Apr 20th, 2021
- New Foxconn and WEDC Agreement Provides Flexibility and Clarity for Renewed Tech Investments in Science and Technology Park - Foxconn Technology Group - Apr 20th, 2021
- Gov. Evers Announces Renegotiated Foxconn Contract to Save Taxpayers $2.77 Billion - Gov. Tony Evers - Apr 20th, 2021
- Rep. Hintz: Statement on Foxconn Announcement - State Rep. Gordon Hintz - Apr 19th, 2021
- Evers Announces New, Smaller Foxconn Deal - Jeramey Jannene - Apr 19th, 2021
- Gov. Evers, Foxconn Reach New Agreement - Gov. Tony Evers - Apr 19th, 2021
Read more about Foxconn Facility here