Opponents to Milwaukee's Streetcar Project prepare to collect petition signatures

Many opponents to Milwaukee's controversial Streetcar Project gathered Tuesday evening to launch a petition, their goal: to collect 35,000 signatures before January 21st.

\"It's a lot of money that's on the table, and I'd like to have a voice,\" said Kathleen Risteau, who plans to help collect signatures.

The petition calls for any proposed rail transit project with a $20,000,000 price tag or more-- to go to voters first.

\"I think the money could probably be used elsewhere,\" said Risteau.

Milwaukee Alderman, Bob Donovan, who's also running for mayor in 2016, thinks the federal funding for this project should be re-allocated.

\"I would put half of it into re-paving our roads, and the other half into increasing and improving our bus service,\" said Donovan.

Donovan believes road work and upgrading bus service are immediate needs for the City of Milwaukee, but Mayor Tom Barrett says the Streetcar Project considers the big picture.

\"We've seen tens of thousands of people who are moving closer to downtown, so we want to keep the positive momentum going,\" said Barrett.

Barrett says it's part of a plan to revitalize downtown.

\"We think that this is part of a transportation strategy that's going to prove to be very successful to have the city grow,\" said Barrett.

Opponents say with $124,000,000 going toward the project-- that's not enough.

\"We got rid of the trolleys, we got rid of the inter-urban, we got rid of the streetcars, why bring them back?\" said Allan Zehm, who's also preparing to collect signatures.

The common council is scheduled to take up the Streetcar Project at a meeting on January 21st-- same day as the petition deadline.    

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