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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Kenosha proves to be model for Milwaukee streetcar plan

From an article by Matthew Olson in the Kenosha News:

As Milwaukee gets assistance for its own downtown streetcar, a Kenosha transit official sees that proposal as a boost to regional transit plans and not a threat to interest in Kenosha’s railways.

Part of the $410 billion federal spending bill signed last week by President Obama included a provision to divide $91.5 million in transit aid between the city and county of Milwaukee.

The $91.5 million in funding was initially approved in 1991, but was held up when Milwaukee city and county officials were unable to decide how to divide the money. The city’s 60 percent share is planned for a downtown streetcar line, while Milwaukee County’s funds destined for the county bus system.

The concept of a downtown streetcar is nothing new to Kenosha. The city restarted its downtown streetcar rail line in 2000, and an estimated 65,000 people rode on Kenosha’s rails last year.

Kenosha Area Transit Director Len Brandrup said Milwaukee officials have taken a look at Kenosha’s streetcar setup in recent years.

“We have an excellent working relationship with the city of Milwaukee and have had them visit the streetcar system and showed them what it meant to the community,” Brandrup said.

But a Milwaukee streetcar system could have a significant connection for Kenosha beyond initial research.

Pete Beitzel, chairman of the Milwaukee Connector Transit Study and vice president of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett’s current plan for the streetcar line would create a three-mile loop through downtown Milwaukee. That line is expected to connect with the Amtrak train/Greyhound bus station.

That transit station is also the likely Milwaukee stop for a potential Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee (KRM) commuter rail link.

“Having the KRM in the same place would connect the station to downtown Milwaukee,” Beitzel said. “Now, you either have to get a cab or have someone pick you up (from the station).”

1 comment:

  1. There could be no better investment in America than to invest in America becoming energy independent! We need to utilize everything in out power to reduce our dependence on foreign oil including using our own natural resources. Create cheap clean energy, new badly needed green jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.The high cost of fuel this past year seriously damaged our economy and society. The cost of fuel effects every facet of consumer goods from production to shipping costs. It costs the equivalent of 60 cents per gallon to charge and drive an electric car. If all gasoline cars, trucks, and SUV's instead had plug-in electric drive trains the amount of electricity needed to replace gasoline is about equal to the estimated wind energy potential of the state of North Dakota.We have so much available to us such as wind and solar. Let's spend some of those bail out billions and get busy harnessing this energy. Create cheap clean energy, badly needed new jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. What a win-win situation that would be for our nation at large! There is a really good new book out by Jeff Wilson called The Manhattan Project of 2009 Energy Independence Now.