Barrett’s underwater streetcar
October 6, 2011
What is it with Liberals and mass transit money pits?
In a six-page letter, the Public Service Commission told state Senators Van Wanggaard and Leah Vukmir that combined estimates from Wisconsin Electric Power Company, American Transmission Company, and AT&T indicate utility relocation expenses would add $55 million to $70 million to the cost of Mayor Tom Barrett’s $65 million Milwaukee streetcar line.
Four days later, the Mayor’s office released a statement that might be read as addressing concerns about utility costs—assuming an exceptionally careless reader. The statement was painstakingly crafted to suggest there’s nothing to worry about, but it really doesn’t say that or anything else.
The statement’s purpose is to “reassure the public that as the Milwaukee Streetcar Plan moves into its Final Design and Engineering phase that all options to reduce the project’s related utility costs will be examined.”
Well, color us reassured. We’d been thinking the plan would proceed regardless of whether those costs were examined, let alone reduced. But reassuringly, starting early next year the responsible officials “will be able to gather all the necessary information and provide all interested parties with facts.”
Gee, we’d have thought it possible to gather necessary information and provide facts by now. The utility cost estimates strike us as necessary information, but then we aren’t mass-transit experts.
The statement says the Mayor “wants to be clear in stating that the Milwaukee streetcar will not and should not go to the construction phase until we have a final set of costs and facts.”
That’s good. All that’s missing is some indication those costs and facts will make any difference.