Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Barrett stops the bus

Mayor Barrett has vetoed the Milwaukee Connector and the Journal-Sentinel has criticized him for failing to exercise bold leadership. But tbe argument in support of that seems odd. We don't know if it would have been a good idea, they seem to say, without doing preliminary engineering.

Fair enough. But shouldn't we know if it might be a good idea? The problem with the Milwaukee Connector is that the arguments for it seemed to be that 1) it is mass transit; 2)mass transit is good and 3) the feds might pay for most of it. That really isn't even close to adequate.

If the reason we had to move forward with this plan was that we might lose federal money and are falling behind other cities wouldn't this be just as true - actually more so - after the passage of additional time. The electric bus was leaving the station and Barrett, quite properly, stopped it.

Barrett apparently wants to use the federal money to extend conventional commuter rail up to Miller Park and along the 30th Street corridor. I am skeptical about that, but at least it provides something that we don't have now.

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