Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Milwaukee, Wisconsin Off-The-Rails For Years

Tommy Thompson, allegedly the pro-train Governor joined forces with Waukesha County officials, then-legislative powerhouse State Rep. Scott Jensen and ratings-hungry AM talk radio jocks in the 90's to kill light rail in Milwaukee.

Yes, the same snappy, snazzy and popular light rail systems, which NPR tells is are aiding city economies all over the country and offering transportation choices to consumers.

"It's hard to find a city in America that isn't planning, proposing, studying or actually building a light rail system. Cities as diverse as Dallas, Seattle and Washington, D.C., all see light rail as part of their future — a way to reshape their development.

There are 35 light rail systems operating in the U.S. today. At least 13 metro areas are currently building others. Many more are being planned."
Killed in 1997, light rail would, by now, provided pleasant transit to Summerfest and through the Third Ward, the Menomonee Valley and Miller Park, and west to the Medical Complex, Zoo and County Grounds, where UW-M may construct a research park and engineering campus.  Talk about lost opportunities.

If the City can get is downtown streetcar line into the ground, maybe Milwaukee can change course.

Scott Walker is simply continuing the trend of the last decade-and-a-half by excising Wisconsin from Amtrak expansion, further stunting the state and its Democratic cities economically and dooming us to a one-dimensional transportation 'system' that guarantees congestion and dirty air while serving road-builders and their suburban sprawl partners.

Conservatives love choice: School choice. Retirement/Social Security investment choices. Medical saving account choice. Control over their decision-making - - except when it comes to transportation, which is when they revert to big-government, statist planning, with choices off the table.

Which accelerates the tax-and-spend/build-expand-repair-etc.-highways-only cycle.

Some conservatives!


Ron R said...

I agree. We should build the same light rail system that allowed all those NY residents to get to work in a timely fashion yesterday.

Note for Liberals: Heavy sarcasm alert!!

James Rowen said...

Actually, rail usually out-performs freeway traffic in snow - - see the video here - - http://thepoliticalenvironment.blogspot.com/2010/12/watch-light-rail-buzz-through-snowy.html

That rail system you are are mocking moves millions and millions of car trips off the highways to the benefit of all.

Anonymous said...

Ron. R, the disruptions in New York are news because they are rare. When the New York subway has delays and shutdowns it's a man-bites-dog story and is major news. When far less snow cripples a major auto-dependent area, which happens in Wisconsin every single winter, it's a dog-bites-man story and nobody comments.

Mitch said...

I grew up in New York, and it was common knowledge that the subways would keep running even when the streets and the expressways were jammed with abandoned cars.

This week's storm dropped so much snow on the city that some (but not all) of the subway lines stopped running, along with cars, buses and airplanes.

Now, a day after the storm, most trains are running, though most are delayed, while the streets are still a mess. If New York had Milwaukee's transportation system, it would still be completely paralyzed.

So what's your point, Ron R?

Anonymous said...

Milwaukee is NOT New York, Chicago, or L.A. The population density in our cow town would not support light or high speed rail.

Everyone can dream that Milwaukee someday will be a major metropolitan city, but that hasn't materialized over the last 100 years. And, antiquated modes of travel won't change the fact that Milwaukee is, quite frankly, off the beaten path of development.

Don't believe me? Drive on 294 in Chicago and look at all the construction going on. Also, make the observation that the Metro doesn't stop at those new office buildings.

Ron R said...

My point is that every time a once in a blue moon event snarls traffic on the freeway James put up a snide post stating if we had light rail and mediocre speed rail that 6 less cars would be on the freeway and their drivers riding rail. Rail is not the end all solution, no matter how much James and other rail supporters promote is as such.

Anonymous said...

Milwaukee is NOT New York, Chicago, or L.A. The population density in our cow town would not support light or high speed rail. "

Milwaukee's population density supported light rail just fine before outside interests ripped it up and destroyed it.

What Milwaukee's population does NOT support is the freeways, which are built for the benefit of out of towners.

Joshua Skolnick said...

Milwaukee is NOT New York, Chicago, or L.A. The population density in our cow town would not support light or high speed rail

Anonymous #2, or paid troll (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/12/29/932182/-EXPOSED:-Astroturfed-Teabaggers-PAID-TO-TROLL-liberals-online-to-enforce-corporate-propaganda) your ignorance and lack of historical perspective on rail in Milwaukee is completely off the rails. The Milwaukee transit system, formerly known as the TMER & L (http://www.trainweb.org/twerhs/tmerl.html) had 376 miles of railway in 1911, in a much more primitive city (http://www.jsonline.com/news/opinion/95652824.html). Lines went out as far as East Troy, Oconomowoc and Burlington, many of which lasted into the 1950s. The population density canard is what anti-rail advocates lean on...actually what killed rail was cheap oil and a disinvestment in rail where governments subsidized roads and airports at the expense of rail.

enoughalready said...

Thanks for the NPR link. I would have missed that story otherwise.