Administration should not divert state highway funds to Milwaukee streetcar

'An exceedingly poor use of taxpayer money'

CONTACT: Michael Jahr, Badger Institute senior vice president, at 262-442-5208 or at

July 23, 2019 — State funding for local roads should be used only for projects that create better and more efficient transportation routes or spur economic development, Badger Institute President Mike Nichols said today following reports that Gov. Tony Evers might divert state highway funds to the Milwaukee streetcar.

“It suddenly appears possible that the Evers Administration will allow state tax dollars to be used to fund the streetcar,” said Nichols. “This would be an exceedingly poor use of taxpayer money, especially when there are so many better uses for the cash. Neither state taxpayer money nor additional federal dollars should be used to fund the $128 million streetcar, especially when there is no evidence it spurs economic development.

“Badger Institute research and common sense proves that the Milwaukee streetcar – which was built only because political leaders needed to find a way to spend available federal money – does not meet those criteria,” he added.

The history of streetcar funding can be found here and here.

Claims that the streetcar has been responsible for economic development in Milwaukee are rebutted here.