Milwaukee losing bang for streetcar bucks

By Sean Ryan

A potential yearlong environmental review for a proposed streetcar system in Milwaukee would further devalue the federal grant the city wants to use for construction.

Milwaukee officials are trying to avoid that scenario.

“Every year we wait, the value of that money diminishes because of inflation,” said Alderman Robert Bauman. “So every year we wait, the less you can build.”

Congress in March 2009 set aside $54.9 million for a new downtown Milwaukee streetcar, but inflation constantly chips away at the amount of construction work the grant can cover, Bauman said. The $54.9 million approved by Congress does not include an adjustment for inflation.

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