FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For Further Information Contact:
State Representative Jesse Kremer
(R-Kewaskum) (608) 266-9175 December 1, 2015
Legislators Circulate Bill to Prohibit State Funds for Streetcar
Madison, WI – Today, Representatives Jesse Kremer (R-Kewaskum), Romaine Quinn (R-Rice Lake) and Cody Horlacher (R-Mukwonago) circulated a bill that would prevent state transportation funds from being used to operate the Milwaukee streetcar project.
A provision enacted in the 2015-17 state budget prevents a county containing a first class city (Milwaukee County) from incurring any costs associated with a commuter rail system. This bill expands upon that provision, and would prohibit the state from incurring any expenses associated with such a system. The bill also removes the enumeration for projects resulting from the Milwaukee Downtown Transit Connector Study and prevents mass transit funds from funding a Milwaukee commuter rail system. Rep. Kremer issued the following statement:
"I am proud to support economic development and growth in the City of Milwaukee, and many of us did just that through our challenging Bucks arena vote earlier this year. The state transportation fund and rural, mass-transit issues are major concerns for my constituents. Mayor Barrett has stated that ‘…the Milwaukee Streetcar will bring thousands of residents and visitors to major attractions and new developments on Milwaukee's lakefront.’ While I certainly hope that this would be the case, I am not convinced that a $123.9 million, 2.5 mile streetcar will be sustainable. State taxpayers have already helped to contribute over $69 million in federal tax dollars ($54.9 million in stimulus and $14.2 million in additional federal grants this year) to move forward with the project. As such, I do not feel that taxpayers outside of the City of Milwaukee should be responsible for any future operational costs that may arise."