Milwaukee’s Streetcar

In 2018, the city of Milwaukee will open its first streetcar line in over fifty years.  The effort to bring back streetcars to Milwaukee has been spearheaded by Mayor Tom Barrett.  Although no rails have been laid yet and Barrett is up for reelection this year, the proposed system is already a rarity in the streetcar world.  Like only a handful of other cities, Barrett proposed an extensive city-wide system when he proposed the starter line.  The first extension of the line is already funded and planned for 2019.  Unlike most cities with grand plans for a streetcar system, Barrett seems to have the political will of the people of Milwaukee with him on the streetcar.  Grand plans for streetcar systems from the outset will become extremely important as anti-streetcar transit planners question the feasibility of systems that are under 5 miles long.  Milwaukee’s streetcar and Tom Barrett have a lot to prove if they want the first totally new city-wide streetcar in the United States.


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