From an article by Matthew Olson in the Kenosha News:
As Milwaukee gets assistance for its own downtown streetcar, a Kenosha transit official sees that proposal as a boost to regional transit plans and not a threat to interest in Kenosha’s railways.
Part of the $410 billion federal spending bill signed last week by President Obama included a provision to divide $91.5 million in transit aid between the city and county of Milwaukee.
The $91.5 million in funding was initially approved in 1991, but was held up when Milwaukee city and county officials were unable to decide how to divide the money. The city’s 60 percent share is planned for a downtown streetcar line, while Milwaukee County’s funds destined for the county bus system.
The concept of a downtown streetcar is nothing new to Kenosha. The city restarted its downtown streetcar rail line in 2000, and an estimated 65,000 people rode on Kenosha’s rails last year.
Kenosha Area Transit Director Len Brandrup said Milwaukee officials have taken a look at Kenosha’s streetcar setup in recent years.
“We have an excellent working relationship with the city of Milwaukee and have had them visit the streetcar system and showed them what it meant to the community,” Brandrup said.
But a Milwaukee streetcar system could have a significant connection for Kenosha beyond initial research.
Pete Beitzel, chairman of the Milwaukee Connector Transit Study and vice president of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett’s current plan for the streetcar line would create a three-mile loop through downtown Milwaukee. That line is expected to connect with the Amtrak train/Greyhound bus station.
That transit station is also the likely Milwaukee stop for a potential Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee (KRM) commuter rail link.
“Having the KRM in the same place would connect the station to downtown Milwaukee,” Beitzel said. “Now, you either have to get a cab or have someone pick you up (from the station).”