If Milwaukee wants a streetcar, it must pay for it itself
February 15, 2016 – Milwaukee, WI – A Milwaukee County judge has ruled that area utility ratepayers can’t be forced to bear the burden of relocation costs associated with the construction of a streetcar in downtown Milwaukee. Judge William Sosnay’s decision affirms the conclusion reached by the Public Service Commission in a case brought by the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty on behalf of Brett Healy and 35 other customers of utilities like WE Energies.
Judge Sosnay’s decision means that the estimated $10-25 million in costs to move the underground utilities running through the proposed streetcar route will be borne by the City of Milwaukee.
“This is the outcome we’ve been fighting for since 2011,” WILL Deputy Counsel Thomas Kamenick said. “If Milwaukee wants a streetcar, it should be responsible for the costs of construction and maintenance, not unsuspecting ratepayers. Milwaukee was proposing taxation without representation.”
The City of Milwaukee may appeal the decision, but considering that both the Public Service Commission and a Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge have reviewed the merits of the case, city taxpayers may be on the hook for additional costs to fight an uphill legal battle.