From the MacIver Institute:
[MILWAUKEE] The state's largest grassroots advocacy organization has launched an online petition drive in opposition to the proposed City of Milwaukee Streetcar Project.
Americans for Prosperity's Wisconsin Chapter participated in a City Hall news conference Thursday at 10:30 am to officially launch www.AStreetcarNamedDisaster.com.
"It's bad enough we don't know how much this streetcar named disaster will cost or who will be expected to pay for it," said Luke Hilgemann, AFP-Wisconsin's Executive Director. "At the very least the taxpaying public should have the opportunity to express their opinion."
Also at the press conference was Milwaukee Alderman Bob Donovan, who will be sponsoring a measure this fall to put the issue to the voters, stating that he is convinced that 70 percent of city residents don't support the project.
It's an assertion that could be put to the test in a citywide referendum.
"Prove me wrong," he said at the press conference.
Alderman Donovan said his effort to derail the streetcar is an attempt to bring common sense to the fore. "While Milwaukee continues to face major economic and other challenges, why are we even discussing this massive boondoggle of a project?" he said.
The website features the online petition and a comprehensive analysis of the project provided by the John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy, the Wisconsin-based free market think tank. The MacIver News Service is a project of the MacIver Institute.
"We've looked at both Milwaukee's history with streetcars as well as the impact similar projects have had in other cities and the fact of the matter is the promised benefits never materialize," said Healy. "Our research is free from the spin and pr efforts of the streetcar proponents and shows that this is a dubious public investment."
MacIver also authored an interactive slideshow on the site that looks back at Milwaukee's history with streetcars and examines why they were abandoned in the middle of the last century.
More than 15,000 of AFP-Wisconsin's 120,000 statewide members live in the City of Milwaukee. More than 60,000 of them are residents of Southeastern Wisconsin who may have to pay for tens of millions of dollars of utility infrastructure costs to complete the project if the PSC rules in favor of the City later this year.
"We truly believe this project is a disaster for taxpayers, ratepayers and local business owners," said Hilgemann. "We started this petition drive to give those people a voice and we will continue to push this until the elected leaders in Milwaukee and the region allow the citizens to vote on this disaster they are expected to finance."
Hilgemann said the early response to the petition "has been phenomenal."
"By noon we already were approaching 1,000 online signatures," he said.
For more: A Streetcar Named Disaster