Friday, September 26, 2008

Is This How Scott Walker Could Cost Milwaukee $91.5 Million

Virginia gets a $32 million transportation funding bonus from the feds whoshift money from states that inefficiently spend their allocations to moreefficient states, according to The Washington Post.

Thelonger that Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker blocks a compromise offeredby Mayor Tom Barrett for a split of 91.5 million federal transportation dollars- - frozen through inaction and indecision since the early 1990's - - themore it would seem that the money would get sent to a state with a plan tospend it.

Barrett has proposed dividing the money between bus routes and a new downtown trolley.

Walker wants all of it for buses, thus adhering to the right-wing talk radio line that anything that runs on a rail is toxic.

Asthe rail plans have changed over the years, Walker tailors a new excuse tocounter them. His latest claim is that the downtown trolley would take ridersand revenue from existing bus lines.

Talkradio and suburban opposition in Waukesha County helped kill a light railproposal for Milwaukee County in 1997; Walker, allied closely with the rightytalkers, has long opposed local rail alternatives.

Nationally, citieswith light rail systems are seeing double-digit increases in ridership asgasoline prices spike; Milwaukee is one of the larger US cities without urbanrail to serve workers, commuters or downtown residents and visitors.

Some history and data, here.

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