City will pay to relocate utilities for streetcar

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by Kieth Crum

The City of Milwaukee will have to foot the bill for moving utility lines along the initial route of the Milwaukee streetcar under a decision issued by Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge William Sosnay last Thursday.
The decision was the result of a court case brought by the city to challenge a decision from the state Public Service Commission that placed the costs onto the city. The city disputed the ruling and wanted the courts to make the final decision.

The decision means that the City will have to pay between $10-25 million to move utility lines when building the streetcar. The project is expected to cost a total of $128.1 million.

What does this mean for the streetcar?

The city will continue building the downtown streetcar route; according to a spokesperson for the mayor the decision was expected and the project remains on time and on budget. What remains to be seen is whether the additional costs of relocating utilities will prevent the streetcar from being expanded into the neighborhoods. MTRU advocates for a streetcar along Martin Luther King Jr. Drive between downtown and Five Points (Atkinson/Keefe) to serve the King Drive shopping district; connect downtown bus riders with crosstown bus routes like the #21, #22 & #6 and relieve chronic overcrowding on the #19 bus route north of downtown.

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The Milwaukee Transit Riders Union is an organization of bus riders fighting for a safe, efficient, accountable, and affordable transit system.