Monday, March 16, 2009

Walker On Downtown Streetcars: Blind, Perhaps, But No Way Blindsided

Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker and some of his talk radio GOP water-carriers have said that they were blindsided by the Congressional agreement to allocate legislatively $91.5 million in languishing federal transit funding.

[Some history here.]

The division cut the money 60-40, with Milwaukee getting the lion's share ($55 million) for a downtown trolley system and the county getting the lesser share ($36) for bus purchases.

Walker and the gang's-blame-someone-else response is wrong, inaccurate and disproven by the record, so if Walker and the talkers felt blindsided, maybe they need to start reading the newspaper and perhaps remembering, photocopying or bookmarking its contents.

Twenty-one months ago, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, frustrated with Walker's refusal to accept a 50-50 split of the funding - - note that Walker and talk radio's self-defeating, city dissing position was and is 'not-one-dime-for-rail' - - told the Journal Sentinel he might independently seek to finance the trolley system if Walker declined the compromise.

Story here.

The headline writer didn't miss the point of the story:

Barrett explores bypassing county on transit plans

Then about two months ago, Barrett told the Journal Sentinel that he was pursuing a permanent resolution of the deadlock with both the incoming Obama administration and the state's congressional delegation.

"Barrett, meanwhile, said he was in talks with President-elect Barack Obama's staff and the Wisconsin congressional delegation "to end this stalemate once and for all." He declined to elaborate but said he remained committed to rail transit."
In the real world - - "end this stalemate once and for all...committed to rail transit... that indicated that Barrett was serious, and with Democrats running both the Congress and White House, a solution was very likely.

It was a trial balloon as big as the Goodyear blimp.

If Walker really missed it, whose fault is that?

I say: celebrate that a decision has finally been made, that there will be jobs in construction and operations, that Milwaukee is getting an upgrade to its bus fleet (unless Walker turns down the money because there are recurring operating costs attached, which he has said made stimulus funding toxic), and the beginning of a modern rail system to boost the downtown and the entire city and county.

Walker needs to start leading the community, and stop following talk radio.


Anonymous said...

I do really wonder if Walker will turn the $36 million down because it does have a matching amount requirement on it.

capper said...

Great minds think alike. But I still beat you to it.

James Rowen said...

Au contraire, mon ami: My first posting on the funding split was Friday morning, a half-day earlier than yours.

capper said...

Excusez moi, mais je suis the one to catch the fact that Mssr. Weasel should not be surprised!

Quelle Weasel that he is!

James Rowen said...

Oh, I see what you mean.