Monday, September 28, 2009

Hoan Bridge Cost - - Millions, Perhaps Billions - - Is Only Half The Wasteful Picture

Supporters of repairing the Hoan Bridge - - a possible fix in the range of scores, perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars - - must also understand that they are laying the foundation, literally, for the bridge's complete replacement in the coming decades that could cost in the billions.

Bringing the scale of the bridge closer to grade, and relocating the connections, could free up land for development that would do two things:

Reduce the eventual replacement costs:

Create land for development that could add tax base to Milwaukee.

That second outcome would create taxes on commercial or residential development - - and don't dismiss the residential component: look at Baltimore's Harbor development, which was visionary, and could be replicated in Milwaukee if there is the will - - and, in turn, keep basic city services in place.

Without additional revenue, Milwaukee cannot provide much more than police, fire and garbage pickup.

You want libraries? Street repairs? Cultural amenities? Comprehensive transit? Health services?

There has to be a comprehensive, a holistic approach to what cities do, provide, and contain.

Over-engineered and costly freeways, and, yes, even edifices like the Hoan Bridge, are drains on the public coffers.

And undermine Milwaukee.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is that you former Mayor Norquist?

Anonymous said...

Baltimore's inner harbor is a showcase for tourists. The inner harbor is heavily protected and separated from poor urban neighborhoods only blocks away. We don't need anymore segregation or disparity in this city. We need to think about the WHOLE city-not just developers and condo buyers.

Sam said...

Dear Anonymous:

TAX BASE created by developers and condo buyers is applied CITY WIDE.

A city must grow or die and the only way Milwaukee can grow is by building.

Why not build on valuable land? We are not Madison we can't just annex farm land when we need to grow our tax base.
And by the way the freeway expansion here increased disparity by cutting an uncrossable barrier right through affluent minority neighborhoods and business districts like the original Bronzeville.

Anonymous said...

You cant build restaurants, you cant go outside without smelling sewage. What can they build? Where do the salt and coal piles go? Do you build a new Milwaukee public market next to the docks? There is no skeleton structure here like the third ward, everything would be built from scratch. How much, with the razing and total rebuilding of the sewers, roads, and new bridge cost compared to just fixing the bridge?

The Edge condos next to Lakefront Brewery are 80% empty with a huge empty brick factory across the street. Who do we expect will move into these condos next to Jones Island?

Dave Reid said...

@Anon The development in question would not be next to the sewage plant. The real value is in the Third Ward, close to the MAM and very close to the US Bank building, which is the most valuable land in the state of Wisconsin.

The top 10 condo developments in the 3rd district pay more in taxes than two (individually) Aldermanic districts. Pretty important to develop in the 3rd district when you can.

Finally, it would be years before this could actually happen, by then the housing market will have recovered.

Dave Reid said...

A little correction to my comment. The 4th district not the 3rd.

Sam said...

@ Anon: Does the Edge generate tax revenue? How about another under-performing development, Park Lafayette? If the answer is no, I'll eat my socks.

@ Dave Reid: I like the Top 10 Condos stats.

Put it this way:

Dear supporters of the Hoan,

In the long-term how much would you like your property taxes raised in return for less city services every year? Also, should residents of the City on the North side have to subsidize your perception of a shorter commute to the South side?

Would you trade the Bay View library for the Hoan Bridge? How about the Bay View Library and Humboldt Park?