Month: July 2016
Screwing taxpayers and motorists: The BRT
Milwaukee sure does love a transit boondoggle.
Commuter rail. Light rail. $810 million in federal money that would have built a fast (unsustainable) train from Madison to Milwaukee and Chicago. Downtown Milwaukee trolley car.
And now the BRT (Bus Rapid Transit), another great example of wasteful spending and bureaucrats gone crazy.
Today, the Milwaukee County Board approved a BRT route between downtown Milwaukee and the Milwaukee Regional Medical Complex in Wauwatosa along parts of Wisconsin Ave. and Bluemound Road.
A few weeks ago here’s what a national website, New City had to say about the project. Please keep in mind that figures used tend to vary depending on the news organization. Lots of rosy spin ahead.
A proposed 9-mile bus rapid transit route connecting downtown Milwaukee to the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, could save commuters up to 112 hours a year . According to the East-West BRT Feasibility Study, the trip is projected to take 35 minutes end to end, compared to an estimated 51 minutes on existing bus lines.
The recommended route, developed after months of public hearings and transit modeling, travels the city from east to west, crossing through downtown and the west side of the city, primarily following Wisconsin Avenue and stopping at 19 locations. According to the route analysis, within a half-mile of the stations are: 47,000 residents, 120,000 jobs, 4,800 households without a car, and 12,7000 people living below the poverty line. The analysis also estimates BRT will increase transit ridership by up to 40 percent, attracting as many as 9,000 new riders to the BRT route and other lines. If successful, the study team estimates this could take as many as 6,700 cars off the road, reducing miles driven by up to 17 million miles per year.
County officials would like to finalize route planning by August, in order to apply for a Federal Transit Administration grant to cover up to 80 percent of the costs. If successful, operations could begin by the end of 2019. Early estimates suggest the project could cost between $42 million and $48 million.
The Milwaukee Common Council earlier approved the BRT. And so did the Wauwatosa Common Council, even though there were some council members in Tosa that demonstrated fiscal responsibility and common sense. From the Business Journal:
Ald. Tim Hanson opposed the project based on the cost vs. the improvement to travel time.
“To save 10 minutes from what is there now is a little absurd, especially considering all of the money that will be spent chasing that,” he said.
Ald. Jason Kofroth said the BRT line would have a negative impact on residents, and for parking, on Blue Mound Road. He said the stops are too far from the Milwaukee County Research Park and Wauwatosa’s retail centers. He doubted the route would spur any significant economic development, and said the regional medical center will expand without the line.
“All it is going to do is benefit the people who are already on the medical campus,” he said. “I don’t understand why they need that.”
Of course not every Tosa official showed smarts. There was this brilliant argument to vote Yes…move the project along to move the project along.
Wauwatosa Ald Bobby Pantuso said he supports the latest resolution because future city votes will be required before anything is built.
“When it comes back I don’t know if I would vote for it then, but I think there is too much on the line here,” he said. “If we don’t try to start the process we will never get to the finish line.”
So now we beg the Feds for $$$. And even if they help, and they usually turn their backs on the Badgers, it won’t cover total costs, or operating costs year to year.
Wednesday night, the night before the Milwaukee County Board vote on BRT, Channel 4’s Vince Vitrano produced a balanced report on the project. Even so, it was devastating as it pertained to the project merits. Maybe it wasn’t the intent, but Vitrano’s report shot huge holes in the rationale behind BRT and made government proponents look stupid and silly.
Your tax dollars…being wasted.
UPDATE: The Milwaukee County Board voted 14-1 in favor of BRT.
WEDNESDAY NIGHT SUMMER RERUN: Incivility in America
EVERY WEDNESDAY NIGHT THROUGHOUT THE SUMMER, I’M RE-POSTING SOME OLD BLOGS I THOUGHT WERE INTERESTING AND WORTH A SECOND LOOK, OR A FIRST GLANCE FOR MY MANY NEW READERS.
Last weekend the Fischer family hit the lakefront for a summer tradition: Festa Italiana. We did take advantage of the offer to get in free with a Sendik’s red bag per person. Heck, we shop there so often we’ve got red bags coming out of our wood work.
On our way out I offered to get the car and pick up my girls at the entrance. While Jennifer and Kyla waited for their special pick-up Jennifer noticed a couple offering some red bags to young folks entering the grounds.
Jennifer had a red bag left she had used to carry a water bottle and wanted to give it to a young woman so she could enter free. The woman (a millennial I have to say) grabbed the red bag and started walking to the entrance without a single word.
As the young millennial female walked away with her back to Jennifer my wife responded, “You’re welcome!” (Good for her!)
The woman stopped in her tracks, turned around slowly, and sheepishly, but with no sincerity said quietly, “Thank you.”
Jennifer wasn’t pleased. Had I been there I might have been tempted to grab the red bag back.
Millennials seem to hate the stereotypes about them that permeate society, but they are guilty of reinforcing those public beliefs.
This week on the MarketWatch website, this was submitted:
I mailed my 21-year-old nephew a birthday card and check for $50. He received the card before his birthday, opened it and cashed the check with no acknowledgment of receipt. I know this because the check cleared the bank two days before his birthday. I’m not so old fashioned or naive to expect a handwritten thank you but he can’t even send a text? Is it unreasonable to expect acknowledgment before running to the bank? Where have all the manners gone?
What I’ve described is all happening late July 2016.
As a society, we’ve become uncouth. No manners. But this didn’t happen overnight. This has festered for decades.
Our summer rerun features lots of links and material to consider. This major societal problem was bad a long time ago, and it hasn’t gotten any better. It’s worse.
Look yourself in the mirror. Is this you?
UPDATE: Week-ends (08/23/14)
Previously on This Just In… check out the bucket challenge item under HEROES
Now scroll up and hit the Previously link and then check out under VILLAINS Bill Dwyre. Wonder what he’s thinking today?
Something to keep in mind regarding the NEXT Franklin school referendum – Part 3
The following is another in a series of blogs relating to the school referendum that will be on the Franklin ballot this November.
The option to be considered by voters would build a new two -story middle school with a $43.3 million referendum representing an estimated annual tax impact of $73 for each $100,000 of a home’s value for each of the next 20 years. A new two-story middle school would be built on District-owned land adjacent to the current middle school. The referendum would be large enough to pay for the new building and provide space for future expansion. Green space and competition/ recreational fields would be provided. Supporters claim the referendum would significantly improve parking and traffic flow.
I’ll grant you the analogy and situation I’m about to pose may not be the best, arguably apples and oranges. But as the blog title suggests, it’s food for thought as you decide whether you want to jack up your own property taxes at about the same time the Franklin School Board more than likely will approve a budget containing with a school property tax levy increase.
Franklin has a population of what, about 35,000? Therefore it’s no…
San Diego, CA.
The city has learned the hard way that spending lots of money on schools for the sake of improvement is no guarantee.
Twice in the past eight years, San Diego school officials have convinced voters to support big bond measures to pay for construction. They have raised a total of $5 billion that way, and have already spent $1 billion. Despite all this, the school district’s buildings are now in worse shape overall than when they started.
So why are buildings apparently in worse shape, despite pretty significant spending?
It’s because maintenance isn’t sexy.
Yeh, but that’s San Diego, Kev, not Franklin.
Fine. I leave you with a comment made on a recent blog of mine by someone who knows about building construction, Franklin Planning Commissioner Scott Thinnes:
Again, a bad decision made years ago by whoever thought the hub-spoke-pod school design was a good idea in the first place. These buildings are more expensive to build, maintain, and operate because they have 3-4 times the perimeter exterior wall area and foundation footprint, they take up more land space, and are very difficult to expand economically, usually requiring many small expansion areas located between the various pods. Again, expensive for what you get, and the added layout and function makes less and less sense relative to the initial design.
One thing Franklin is good at… making decisions and not realizing how bad those decisions are until they are 3/4 of the way down the road. Do you think if a new middle school is built that site placement and building design will be done with thoughts of future expansion needs? I’m not going to hold my breath.
Supervisor Steve F. Taylor (Privileged to Serve) July 2016 E-Newsletter
Please click here to view the July 2016 edition of “Privileged to Serve”, the monthly e-newsletter issued by my office.
This edition still includes:
-2016 annual National Night Out
-Photos from the 4th of July and Franklin’s 60 Year Anniversary
-Information about the 165th Wisconsin State Fair
-Traveling Beer Gardens Schedule
-Free days at the Milwaukee County Parks, museums, and the County Zoo.
-Upcoming events in our community.
As always, I encourage you to forward this newsletter to anyone who may find it informative. Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office if I can be of assistance concerning any matter involving Milwaukee County. Once again, I apologize for this oversight and any inconvenience it may have caused you. It is an honor to serve you and I hope you find the time to read this corrected letter.
All my best,
Steve F. Taylor
Milwaukee County Board, 2nd Vice Chairman
Economic & Community Development Committee Chairman
Milwaukee County Supervisor, 9th District
2ND UPDATE: Here’s what you can expect from the DNC next week in Philadelphia
In the above in my list of items to expect at the DNC, #9:
9) No love for the police.
Glowing coverage of the DNC: Over 500 words about…
Apparently this just wasn’t worthy of a PUFF piece:
OMG! Obama’s brother is what?
The latest pro-life news (07/25/16)
From Pro-Life Wisconsin and Wisconsin Right To Life.
Poll: Americans Oppose Democratic Party Platform Forcing People to Pay for Abortions
Democrat says that if party goes pro-life, it will be unstoppable
The Right to Life of Michigan has released a compelling new video asking voters to support pro-life candidates in the coming election. The two-minute video urging citizens to “vote for life” is airing across the state of Michigan.
AND FINALLY, LOVIN’ LIFE…
Two judges, best friends, bonded by gift of life
Virginia Mom of 3 Adopts Dying Friend’s 6 Children: ‘We Love Them Like Our Own’