Dallas Expanding Its City Rail Lines
Ah, Dallas - - where former Milwaukee Mayor John Norquist used to joke there were more right-wing radio talk show hosts than our fair city - - Dallas, like so many other US cities large and small, is expanding its city rail system.
Ever what it is about Milwaukee and our 'region' that is so hostile to trolleys and light rail?
Why is Milwaukee different? One part of the answer has to be race relations here in Milwaukee. (Just think of how little coverage there is in our local media of the God-fearing, hardworking, law-abiding black middle class in Milwaukee.) Racial fears apparently killed the proposed commuter line between Waukesha and Milwaukee. We probably remain among the most segregated cities in the country, if we are not still number one.
Another part of the answer is, I think, Milwaukee's small town identity. We don't want to be a big city or have a big city mentality. We are different, more personal, perhaps. Ironically, though, I would argue that we have become less civil under the dominative influence of conservative talk radio. I also happen to believe that while big cities have their problems, they also offer the advantage or possibility of civilizing people.
Related to our small town identity/mentality is probably the relatively small resident population of our downtown. I have not seen any figures on this, but I have to think our downtown, while growing, is smaller than that of most comparable cities or metropolitan areas.
Last, there is a distinct lack of vision -- the narrow idea, voiced by Scott Walker among others, that mass transit is really just for poor folks who cannot afford their own vehicle. And why should we subsidize the poor, the least productive members of our society? Isn't such poverty an incentive to work harder so you can buy your own car? (And, of course, poverty is reflective of moral failure, a punishment for personal failings, not something that should be rewarded. Right?)
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