Opponents Of Milwaukee Streetcar Project Look To Stymy Proposal By Introducing Referendum

Proposal Has Support Of Mayor Tom Barrett

Alderman Joe Davis, an opponent of the proposed streetcar project. Photo: City of Milwaukee (CC-BY-NC-ND).

Opponents of a proposed Milwaukee streetcar have started a petition drive aimed at requiring a voter referendum on spending for large rail transit projects.

Alderman Joe Davis is one of three Milwaukee Common Council members leading the effort to collect 31,000 signatures in about 15 days. Davis said the streetcar would be another downtown project that wouldn’t help the city’s low-income minority neighborhoods.

“We’ve had these particular projects in place before. And have we … experienced any drop or movement in these negative indicators — poverty, unemployment and mass incarceration? And I tell you, no, it’s gotten worse,” said Davis.

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Normally, the petition drive would have 60 days to collect signatures on the spending referendum. However, Milwaukee alderpersons are scheduled to vote on the streetcar project in about two weeks.

Mayor Tom Barrett has argued the streetcar would boost economic development and attract workers to the area.

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