Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Milwaukee Water Would Flow To New Berlin Growth Area; Transit There From Milwaukee Called "Inadequate"

A City of Milwaukee report in a package of materials provided to the Common Council for a July 29th committee vote on whether to sell Lake Michigan water to central New Berlin says the destination could see thousands of new jobs, but has inadequate transit connections to Milwaukee.

The report indicates that the area in New Berlin's middle third to which Milwaukee water would be delivered could eventually see more than 5,600 new jobs, but says the employment situation there is"constrained by inadequate public transportation."

Bus service from Milwaukee is currently provided by Milwaukee County Transit Service Route #10 as far west as Brookfield Square - - a 55-minute ride from downtown Milwaukee - - then by a contracted bus operated by Waukesha's transit system through Wisconsin Coach Lines to the New Berlin Industrial Park, for example.

The Coach service has a $3.50 round-trip fare; the Milwaukee County transit round trip to Brookfield Square is $4.50.

That $8.00 daily cost can drop to $6.70 with the purchase of Milwaukee transit weekly passes or Wisconsin Coach ticket ten-packs.

A round trip ride from downtown Milwaukee to the New Berlin Industrial Park on both bus lines is more than two hours, not including layover time at Brookfield Square.

Full schedule and fare information is here.

Milwaukee County's bus Route #6 formerly went directly to the New Berlin Industrial Park, but that service ended in 2004.

The complete City of Milwaukee jobs' analysis report, with the transit discussion, is here.

What's important about the report is that Milwaukee has several existing Common Council resolutions that, as a matter of policy, tie potential out-of-community water sales to a broader agenda.

That agenda includes transit, affordable housing and other regional improvements that Milwaukee believes will help alleviate social and economic pressures in southeastern Wisconsin that fall disproportionately on the state's biggest city.

It's Milwaukee's way of trying to leverage water sales towards a broader regional agenda.

Does the proposed agreement meet those expectations?

Some of these issues will be aired at a Common Council Public Improvements committee meeting at 10:30 a.m. at City Hall.

The potential water sale, if approved by Milwaukee and New Berlin, would include a yearly meeting between the cities on employment and job access issues, along with a no-raiding pledge and a $1.5 million one-time payment to Milwaukee.

Milwaukee will have to decide if the deal adequately links the water sale to regional issues, such as access to jobs and affordable housing: New Berlin currently has 80 such units in its jurisdiction, nearly all of them targeted to seniors, not low-income families.

Records filed with Milwaukee by New Berlin also indicate the possibility of 1,119 new housing units being built in the acreage to which Milwaukee water would be delivered.

First year wholesale water revenues to Milwaukee would be $966,000; infrastructure costs to the Milwaukee Water Works would be about $6.8 million.

Further details on the possible water deal are here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This water deal sounds more and more sketchy for Milw and a sweetheat deal for NB. Let's see, negligible revenue and promotes sprawl... why is Milw doing this? And what's an anti-raiding pledge anyway? Companies can move anywhere they want. I'm hoping the Common Council will see thru this and vote no.