Ald. Tony Zielinski
Press Release

Streetcar expansion plans irresponsible in light of Mayor Barrett’s proposed 2020 budget

Statement of Alderman Tony Zielinski August 16, 2019

By - Aug 16th, 2019 08:36 am

City of Milwaukee leaders are facing some hard choices when we review and deliberate the 2020 budget next month.

Mayor Tom Barrett’s proposed budget calls for a jump in the city’s contribution to its pension fund, not only for 2020 but going forward into 2023. Currently, the city pays approximately $70 million per budget year into the fund to meet its obligation to current and future city retirees. The proposed extra contribution, or “jump”, for 2020 is $10 million, with additional funds forecasted for more jumps in the 2021 and 2022 budgets.

To be clear, I am in total support of funding the city’s pension fund at 100%. A fully-funded pension for our retirees is the promise that we keep to our hard-working, dedicated city employees who, after a lifetime of work on behalf of our fellow city residents, are counting on these funds as they move into retirement. This applies to ALL our city employees including public works staff, librarians, neighborhood services inspectors, and public health nurses, as well as our police officers and firefighters.

But with this latest budgetary challenge and the limited resources that we have to run the city, the mayor’s plans to expand the streetcar are irresponsible. I believe that our dollars should be used to keep our residents safe and our roads in good condition, to continue to clean up the lead in our built environment, and provide educational and vocational opportunities to ensure that everyone has the chance for a good, family-supporting job and the best quality of life.

I will work with my Common Council colleagues to make sure that Milwaukee’s 2020 budget meets the obligations to our residents and employees, and that it is a fair budget for all.

Contact Ald. Zielinski: (414) 405-1483

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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4 thoughts on “Streetcar expansion plans irresponsible in light of Mayor Barrett’s proposed 2020 budget”

  1. Thomas Martinsen says:

    Knee-jerk hate reactions to the HOP are increasingly tired. Please consider the streetcar as part of a variety of transportation options we need in this city to keep from being poisoned by reliance on the automobile exclusively.

  2. Edward Susterich says:

    The Three Stooges (Tony Zielinski, Bob Donovan, and Mark A. Borkowski) are making a career in opposing positive changes for the city.

    The number one issue that underlies quality of life for so many citizens of Milwaukee is POVERTY. What has the Three Stooges done to alleviate this humanitarian problem? Oh, I get it– it’s not in their neighborhood…yet, it does exist in many neighborhoods of Milwaukee. Poverty and its ramifications affect every citizen.

    Address the issue: adding more Police, rewarding your supporters, and thoughts-and-prayers do not address the root cause.

    Tony Zielinski, Bob Donovan, and Mark A. Borkowski: what is your plan?

  3. Thomas Martinsen says:

    I agree with you, Edward, that poverty is the # 1 issue in this city that the likes of Aldermen Z, D, & B appear to ignore in favor of issues that appeal to reactionaries. Poor people in this city cannot afford to own and operate cars. They need better public transportation to get to jobs. Streetcar extensions to Bronzeville and Walkers Point could help poor residents of those communities get to jobs downtown. Some of those jobs could elevate some of those people out of poverty.

  4. Lee Bitts says:

    Thomas Martinson: I wholeheartedly agree with your statement: “Poor people in this city cannot afford to own and operate cars. They need better public transportation to get to jobs.”

    I want to add that more people need to get out of their cars and use other means of transportation such as: bicycles, scooters, walking, and buses. The fossil fuel industry is destroying our Planet. Think about it. Don’t continue to willfully ignore the reality that we need to stop polluting our life-giving atmosphere with exhaust gases and carbon dioxide!

    CO2 levels were recorded at 415.70 parts per million on May 15th, 2019 at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii. We passed the last safe level at 350 ppm in 1998. Watch the national news to see the daily extreme weather events happening throughout the world. Extreme heat, wildfires, drought, crop failures, famine, water scarcity, and the destruction of regional economies and the plight of large numbers of refugees who must move or die because their land can no longer sustain them.

    People (especially young people), you must demand that our politicians and world leaders address this serious and absolutely life-threatening state of affairs that is today’s reality! Don’t think about waiting until tomorrow because that will be the end of the story. You don’t want your life to amount to nothing more than a final chapter, do you?

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