Vote to expand streetcar in downtown Milwaukee delayed

NOW: Vote to expand streetcar in downtown Milwaukee delayed

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett is feeling the pressure to get moving on expanding The Hop streetcar.

Barrett would like to have an expansion complete in time for next summer’s Democratic National Convention.

He’ll need approval from the city council, which delayed a critical vote Wednesday.

Several council members have spoken publicly against the streetcar in the past, including Robert Bauman and Tony Zielinski.

It’ll cost $46 million to expand the Hop’s route into neighborhoods like Barrett wants.

His plan calls for building north into Bronzeville, south into Walker’s Point and west to the Wisconsin Center.

Barrett remains resolute, and says it’ll be a missed opportunity if the expansion isn’t finished for the DNC.

"We are going to continue to look for opportunities to try to get this extended,” he said. "I think the pressure's there right now. As recently as this morning I was talking to our engineers as to what we need to do to make sure this is complete by then."

In his bid to garner support Wednesday, Barrett trumpeted economic development and rising property values along the existing track.

"Does that mean everybody loves it? No of course not. Did we think everyone was going to love it? Of course not. But I think people are having a better appreciation for it now that they've seen it in operation."

The city council will have the chance to vote on expansion again next month.

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