Thursday, July 18, 2019

WI GOP finds new route for fossilized anti-city bias

State Sen. GOP Majority Leader and leading Milwaukee hater Scott Fitzgerald is extending his party's assault on Gov. Evers' veto powers by targeting money that might be spent on Milwaukee city rail which Republicans have been sand-bagging forever, as I wrote in 2008:
A starter light rail system was recommended for Milwaukee County in a major state-funded regional transportation study in the 1990s that had considerable public and private sector support.
But conservative AM talk radio and opposition in Waukesha County blocked further study of light rail for Milwaukee, even though $241 million in federal funds was set aside specifically for transit improvements in Milwaukee County.
Had plans unfolded on schedule, the starter light rail, with an estimated 21,000 riders on weekdays, would have opened in 2006 and run about 10 miles from the Third Ward to Summerfest, downtown, Miller Park, the Milwaukee County Zoo and the County Grounds
Sounds even more familiar these days, doesn't it, as I wrote two years ago:
And if you are one of these anti-city legislators, what more effective way is there for you to distract attention from your years of transportation planning and fiscal failures?
That even with total control of state government has brought your Cadillac-level highway expansion in the Zoo Interchange to an embarrassing stall - - bad planning and budgeting failures which also took River Hills GOP State Senator Alberta Darling's billion-dollar+-separate-boondoggle near Miller Park off the table - - than meddling with a Milwaukee system that is common across the country as a development tool and transportation method - - but which car-rich people in River Hills or Oconomowoc Lake or Germantown can easily and ideologically ignore.
The GOP suburban far-right has for years been twisting Milwaukee's budgets for political reasons, especially obstructing modern transit which makes the city attractive to residents who want an alternative to suburban isolation and its interstate highway commutes.
By the way, Milwaukeeans routinely contribute to transportation projects statewide, even if many city people with or without cars will never use widened highways in Dane County or past The Dells, or bridges in Green Bay and over the Mississippi River and the Superior-Duluth harbor, or the small town bypasses which have sprung up all over the state.

Including one in Burlington, just a few minutes from WI GOP Assembly Speakers Vos' Rochester base: 11 miles of roadway that cost $118 million dollars.

We're one state. Except when out-state legislators can target and scapegoat Milwaukee.

Republicans, not satisfied with a special law passed in the 50's which froze only Milwaukee's boundaries, stunted its development and help set off suburban and exurban growth, absolutely hate that the new streetcar is off to a documented great start that will spur construction, tourism, entertainment and quality living 

in the state's largest city.

Speaking of transportation arrangements which get public support, taxpayers from Milwaukee are among those who contribute through state budget-provided per diem payments to Fitzgerald for his round trip mileage to and from the Capitol and his residence in rural Dodge County.

Anyway, the GOP wants to make it harder to lay down metal rails in Milwaukee - -  though lead metal residue in the drinking water, well, OK.

At the core of this perverse partisanship is Republican dogma which foolishly sees urban success as a threat to their out-state and suburban base - - foolish because a strong big city helps the entire state succeed.

Attacking the streetcar is just a dog whistle variant with a train horn pitch. 

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