MacIver News Service | September 26, 2011 | 9:40 am
[Madison, Wisc…] The price tag for a controversial streetcar in
Cynthia Smith, general counsel for the Public Service Commission, explained the new figure in a letter to two Republican legislators who want to know if ratepayers outside the City of
The $64.6 million, 2.1-mile rail line would be funded by $55 million in federal transit aid (previously allocated twenty years ago) and $9.7 million in tax-incremental financing district funds. Supporters assert that rider fares, downtown parking fees and advertising revenue will the $2.65 million annual operating cost. The Milwaukee Common Council has approved the project although they have withheld the release of funding for the project pending additional information regarding associated costs such as those described by the PSC in their letter to the senators.
THE ASSOCIATED COSTS
As we reported last month, Racine County Republican State Senator Van Wanggaard sent a letter to Public Service Commission Chairperson Phil Montgomery seeking more information about the proposal.
In their response to Wanggaard and fellow Republican State Senator Leah Vukmir, the PSC confirmed the utility-related costs associated with the project could exceed $70 million.
The PSC broke down the costs.
WEPCO – $45 million
ATC .5 to 15.4 million
AT&T 10 million
The PSC said the ATC costs will vary depending on the need for corrosion protection for the steel conduit holding the underground transmission lines because of the proximity to DC (direct current) lines powering the proposed streetcars. The Commission further notes that the AT&T estimate is not for costs that would be incurred by other co-located telecommunication providers.
The PSC letter states in part:
“At this time, it does not appear that the City has identified an “adequate health, safety or public welfare justification” for the Streetcar Project and therefore the utility (and its ratepayers) would not be obligated to pay for it. Rather, the project appears to be proposed by the City in its “proprietary” capacity and not in the exercise of its police powers and the costs should likely be borne by the City.”
Wanggaard believes the PSC’s letter alleviates his concerns that
“I am pleased that the Public Service Commission agrees that the costs of this purely local project should be paid for locally,” Wanggaard said. “My interest in this project has been, and continues to be, ensuring
In 1949 a consulting firm told the city it was time to get rid of its previous streetcars, saying, among other things,