Milwaukee Will Have "Hybrid" Streetcar Vehicles

As Milwaukee moves closer to construction of its streetcar system, people involved in the project took questions at a Milwaukee Press Club luncheon Thursday. 

Experts said the streetcar vehicles will be able to run off a battery. City Engineer Jeff Polenske said the streetcars will still need to be powered by an overhead wire, but can operate off a battery in some areas.

Ashley Booth, from the planning firm HNBT, said, “The vehicle will be equipped with lithium-ion batteries and it will enable us to reduce some costs a related to our catenary system which is our overhead catenary system that powers the vehicles.”

Polenske also said the city has applied for another federal grant to extend the streetcar toward 4th Street and the new Bucks arena. 

He said, “Obviously it connects us to the arena, but it also connects us to other important locations in the downtown; the convention center, Grand Avenue, west Wisconsin Avenue.”

According to, construction on the first phase of the plan is expected to start late this summer, and be up and running in 2018.

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