Ald. Bob Donovan
Press Release

The Streetcar not desired

Portland’s streetcar numbers inflated, so what can we expect in Milwaukee?

By - Jan 28th, 2015 03:21 pm

The City of Portland’s streetcar project – hailed by many of Milwaukee’s staunchest streetcar proponents as the streetcar “gold standard” – is not exactly what it is purported to be, according to news reports.

In fact, it turns out that a Portland audit found that administrators for the renowned streetcar system publicly overstated fiscal 2014 estimated ridership by 19% or 1.1 million estimated rides!

In addition, administrators for the Portland streetcar also falsely claimed that nearly every vehicle arrived on time, and auditors also found problems with frequency of service, vehicles and other issues.

So here we have the supposed premier streetcar system in the U.S. not accurately reporting ridership, not arriving on time, and not meeting other important goals. Those who are skeptical about the system in Portland are apparently seeing their worst fears come to fruition.

I can only imagine the shenanigans and mess we’ll have on our hands in Milwaukee if our proposed, wasteful streetcar system goes forward.

Mentioned in This Press Release

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7 thoughts on “The Streetcar not desired”

  1. PMD says:

    These press releases are desperate and pathetic. There isn’t even a source in it. You have too much time on your hands Bob.

  2. Dave says:

    Your “argument” has more holes in it than the mens room you frequent, Bobby. Do the honorable thing and run for dog catcher. You’re unfit and unqualified for any other public office.

  3. PJ says:


    I applaud the attempt but I’ve learned that most of the readers and respondents to this site suffer from D.R.O.O.L.S
    (Detailed Rail Opposition Oration Loathing Syndrome)

  4. PMD says:

    So you just take Bob at his word PJ? You don’t think for yourself or do any research? Are streetcar opponents just sheep going along with whatever Bob and talk radio say?

    A story from The Oregonian shows that Bob (unsurprisingly) cherry picks info and paints a picture far more dire than reality. In reality, there was a year-to-year ridership increase of 500,000 people, a significant jump. Also, the on-time of 82% is on par with rail and bus service. Room for improvement? Definitely, but the streetcar is doing well in Portland regardless of what Bob claims.

  5. Jeff McDonald says:

    I agree with the comments about cherry picking an article. How lazy is Donovan and his staff?! Just go to and read the entire posting, which includes audited results. Which shows on time results beats their buses. Which shows that the system is being embraced as evidenced by the third leg just beginning service. Which shows the ability to add (flex) trains for special events.
    Do we even have a dog catcher for Milwaukee? Bob? Anyone?

  6. Midthun says:

    On the plus side…he is calling it a streetcar, not a trolley or choo choo. As much as he hates it, we are noticing his progress. “Now, where’s that Kringle?!” Check out his alter-ego on Twitter @BobDingDonovan

  7. DavidJorling says:

    I was on vacation and just read the article. It is a typical example of how mass transit opponents like to cherry pick data to meet their argument, instead of doing the public a service by relating all of the facts. I have linked below an explanatory article below. Is Mr. Donovan an apostle of the Koch brother “Climate Disaster Capitalists”?

    As a resident of the Portland area, we look forward to even greater ridership with street car and light rail when the loop around the downtown core is completed in September. We are seeing the positive results in many ways For example, a high tech company, Lattice Corporation, has decided to move its headquarters to downtown Portland from one the suburbs. And ridership exceeds projected expectations

    See also


    Good luck, Milwaukee. I hope you defeat the Koch Brothers.

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