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Proposal targeting Milwaukee streetcar approved

The state's Joint Finance Committee voted on a 12-4 party line Thursday to approve shifting any related costs for the proposed Milwaukee streetcar project from utility ratepayers to the city. (Rendering courtesy of themilwaukeestreetcar.com)

By Dan Shaw

The state’s Joint Finance Commission on Thursday passed a motion related to the Milwaukee streetcar on a 12-4 party-line vote.

Democrats argued that the state should not be interfering in a Milwaukee project. Republicans argued that if the project were paid for, in part, through utility rates, that cost would be borne by people living outside Milwaukee County. They said residents of Milwaukee should find a way to pay for the project on their own if they really want it.

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Rep. Dale Kooyenga, of Brookfield, made the motion.

The city has allocated about $64 million for construction of a streetcar line from the city’s lower east side to the Milwaukee Intermodal Station. The state Public Service Commission is considering whether utility lines will have to be moved. The GOP proposal would require that the city pay those costs.

Mayor Tom Barrett’s chief of staff, Patrick Curley, said engineers don’t believe any utility lines will have to be moved.

The Associated Press also contributed to this report.

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