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Mayor Barrett to push Milwaukee street car plan

The cost of a downtown streetcar line here in Milwaukee has now doubled, and Mayor Tom Barrett wants to bring the proposal to the common council next month.

The plan has gone around in circles for a while now, and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett says next month he'll ask the city's Common Council to hop on board with a downtown street car system.

\"This is the perfect time with all of these people moving into downtown, jobs being created downtown, for us to move forward with our streetcar plan.\" Barrett said.

He says the city could break ground on the project next year, and have it done sometime in 2018. He'll ask the Common Council to approve two special taxing districts to help pay for the downtown route and extension to the proposed Couture development along the lakefront. He says he's looking at it costing roughly $113 million.

\"Along with the 55 million dollars we've already received from the federal government, would put the total federal contribution at 65 million dollars, which is more than half the project cost.\" Barrett said.

Outspoken city alderman and candidate for mayor Bob Donovan wants to derail Barrett's plan because he says people in Milwaukee simply don't want this.

\"I hear from people all the time bob before you build a street car lets fill the potholes, let's pave our streets, certainly public safety, our schools.\" Donovan said.

Barrett says the city can tackle those issues at the same time it creates a light rail to allow Milwaukee to keep pace. \"You can't name a major American city that's growing that doesn't have some sort of fixed rail as part of its transportation arsenal.\" Barrett said.

Donovan sent a letter to State Representative Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield) asking him to step in and try to stop Barrett from using special taxing districts as a way to pay for the project.

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