Ald. Tony Zielinski
Press Release

More streetcar amenities or fixed streets and better services?

Council committee will take up streetcar expansion at Tuesday hearing

By - May 20th, 2019 09:32 am

Should the City of Milwaukee spend tens of millions in expanding the streetcar or should it instead fix crumbling streets and invest more directly in city neighborhoods?

Alderman Tony Zielinski said those questions will be front and center tomorrow (Tuesday, May 21) when a public hearing is held at City Hall on the proposed expansion of the streetcar. The hearing will take place before the Zoning, Neighborhoods and Development Committee at 9 a.m. in room 301-B at City Hall, 200 E. Wells St.

The proposal before the committee will be whether the city should approve extending the streetcar to the area near N. Vel R. Phillips Ave. and W. Wisconsin Ave., as well as along N. Vel R. Phillips to the Fiserv Forum, and the further north into Bronzeville. A proposed southerly extension proposal would take the streetcar to S. 1st and Pittsburgh.

Alderman Zielinski said Tuesday’s committee hearing will be a prime opportunity for residents to voice their concerns about city resources and priorities.

“If you are tired of potholes and broken streets, cuts in protective services, outdated city equipment, insufficient city staffing that leads to poor plowing operations, and general disinvestment in the neighborhood you live in coupled with higher taxes, then this hearing is your chance to speak up about the massive spending for the streetcar expansion that’s on the table,” Alderman Zielinski said.

“Milwaukee has the 4th highest rate of children living in poverty but we want to put more of our resources into expanding a streetcar line? It’s clear to me that our priorities are misplaced,” he said.

The leveraging of such a significant level of city spending on the streetcar expansion will mean fewer city resources available for much needed investments in city infrastructure and neighborhoods, Alderman Zielinski said.

“If this streetcar expansion goes through, we will need to find money to cover what we already are having a hard time covering,” he said. “We will see more problems with plowing, more cuts to protective services and we will also see continued deterioration of city streets and infrastructure in the neighborhoods where the vast majority of Milwaukeeans live and play.”

“The neglect of Milwaukee’s residential neighborhoods will continue, sadly, if the streetcar expansion goes through,” the alderman said.

Tuesday’s committee meeting will be televised live on the City Channel (Channel 25 on Spectrum Cable and on AT&T U-Verse Channel 99) in the City of Milwaukee. It can also be viewed via streaming video on the City website at

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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One thought on “More streetcar amenities or fixed streets and better services?”

  1. Thomas Martinsen says:

    The either/or fallacy employed by Alderman Zielinski throughout this piece ignores the probability that extended streetcar service would most likely be good for neighborhoods.

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