Thursday, February 8, 2007

Everything's Up To Date in Kansas City

We Wisconsinites sure are negative and behind-the-times when it comes to upgrading our transit systems with vehicles that run on anything but rubber tires and diesel engines. (Major exception noted: Kenosha, with its downtown trolley)

Madison is struggling with a possible light rail referendum, and Milwaukee's local leaders buried years of studying a guided-bus system(not light rail, but something of a train/traditional bus hybrid) that would have helped move people around the city and added developmental value at the system's stops.

And while rail critics have said Milwaukee has too few people to support urban rail, how is it that voters in Kansas City, Missouri - - a city with about 150,000 fewer people - - approved a light rail plan last year?

Or that St. Louis, even smaller than Kansas City, has had a fine system in operation for years? A system that runs to the sports stadiums downtown and the airport. Imagine being able to ride a similar system in Milwaukee.

We've often been told that the weather here is not conducive to rail systems, but Minneapolis - - to the north - - got its light rail up and running pretty quickly.

And while right-wing AM radio talk show hosts helped poison the Milwaukee debate, conservative cities like Dallas and Houston, Texas have approved and operate light rail systems, too.

So what's the problem, Wisconsin?

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