Ald. Tony Zielinski
Press Release

Alderman Zielinski tells Mayor Barrett: Cut the streetcar, don’t cut protective services

Statement by Alderman Tony Zielinski

By - Sep 27th, 2017 11:49 am
W. St. Paul Ave. Streetcar Track. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

W. St. Paul Ave. Streetcar Track. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Yesterday, Mayor Tom Barrett laid out his budget plans which include cuts to Milwaukee’s Police and Fire Departments, all while the mayor continues to spend recklessly on the streetcar project. I am appalled that he would cut police and fire positions without first cutting exorbitant discretionary spending on the streetcar. Where are Mayor Barrett’s priorities?

We need our police and fire to keep our neighborhoods and residents safe, and to make our city a desirable place for families, small businesses, and large corporations to invest in. With a high crime rate and slow response times by police, our department is already stretched.

It is abundantly clear what dire financial straits the city is in, yet the mayor continues to promote discretionary spending with the streetcar. The mayor is asking the state for a half-percent sales tax to help Milwaukee with its financial problems. However, the state believes the streetcar is a waste of taxpayer dollars and has inserted a budget amendment restricting the use of TIF dollars, so the city cannot use that money for the operation of the streetcar. The mayor has to understand that the state will not help the city as long as he continues to spend money we don’t have on the streetcar.

The mayor has failed to identify a long-term funding source for the streetcar’s operation and maintenance, and our police and fire departments could be footing the bill with their jobs. I truly believe public safety has to remain our highest priority, and I will continue to fight for the people of Milwaukee.

I am calling on the mayor to commit to no future expansion of the streetcar. Mr. Mayor, will you commit to no future expansion of the streetcar?

More about the Milwaukee Streetcar

For more project details, including the project timeline, financing, route and possible extensions, see our extensive past coverage.

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3 thoughts on “Alderman Zielinski tells Mayor Barrett: Cut the streetcar, don’t cut protective services”

  1. Jeff M says:

    Stop with the streetcar grandstanding! You know perfectly well, that has nothing to do with the budget.

  2. M G says:

    is there a link to the budget so the public can actually see the line items in the budget that are directly related to the streetcar. I am curious to see this value.

  3. Adam says:

    @M G

    This is all for political grandstanding and to keep him on the good side of police and fire unions. The money from the Feds had to be used on transportation improvements. The only argument that could be made is that money from these TIF districts is being diverted away from the general fund, but that applies to all of the numerous TIF districts created throughout the city for various projects.

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