If the City of Milwaukee had control over transportation funds, it might
well decide to spend it on light rail and other forms of transportation.
In reality, though, the State and the Feds collect the money, and it's
mostly the State that calls the shots.

Back when the Republicans controlled the legislature and the Governor's
office, they followed Waukesha County's lead, and passed a law that
prevented Milwaukee from building, or even studying a light rail system --
even within its city limits -- and they pushed forward a massive
reconstruction of the Marquette Interchange and an "upgrade" of the
East-West Freeway that Milwaukee didn't want.  Command and control at its
best, I guess.

On the other hand, the purpose of transportation is to get people and
things from one place to another, so it can't be handled on a strictly
local basis.  I get no direct benefit from the State highways that go to
Ripon -- I've been there just once in my life, and I have no plans to go
to next year's Louis Reed time trials -- but I recognize that these roads
are part of system that includes roads I do use from time to time.

>From Eric's standpoint, it might sense, in principal, to get the state out
of the transportation business and devolve all responsibility to cities
and townships, but I don't think that would work well in practice.  In
reality, we can't escape the fact that some decisions have to be made at
the State level.  If they have the power to make decisions, they have the
power to make bad decisions; it's our job to insist that they make good
decisions instead.

Eric Westhagen wrote:
> <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN">
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> Dear Matt,<br>
> <br>
> Your plan would certainly bring about a change in transportation.&nbsp;
> And
> in a perfect world might set things right after which the distribution
> might then turn to what is fair.&nbsp; That is to distribute revenues
> according to where they are collected and from whom.&nbsp; But you are
> also
> assuming that by setting things right under your arbitrary
> redistribution, that efficiency of mobility would be maximized.&nbsp; I
> admit that efficiency of mobility does not flow from merely applying
> the moneys to the social and geographical entities from where
> collected, but an arbitrary distribution is not a solution.&nbsp; Pressure
> groups have affected political parties whomever.&nbsp; Your remarks about
> the flow to low density housing I would agree results from the large
> real estate and banking interests.&nbsp; But that is not a slam on "free
> enterprise" but one on "government" which can so easily be swayed.<br>
> <br>
> I would expect we might agree that the politics of most large cities is
> Democrat?&nbsp; And the problem with Milwaukee is that area transportation
> solutions depend upon the suburbs over the city limits in all
> directions but the lake.&nbsp; If the suburbs then control the funds, by
> and
> large, they will build what they need and thumb their noses at the
> city.&nbsp; So, why wouldn't the Democratic controlled inner city build
> electric articulated buses or light rails for their area?&nbsp; Why should
> these methods have to extend to the suburbs where their citizens have
> decided to drive?&nbsp;&nbsp; Why should "tosa" or the "Falls" have to
> contribute?&nbsp; And certainly why should such a local issue be mandated
> from a Federal level of "one size fits all." &nbsp; I have no idea about
> the
> payment distributions in Seattle and their surroundings, but as far as
> I could see, all their buses were either trolley or some electric
> hybrid and articulated.&nbsp; Wouldn't those be as acceptable and more
> versatile than light rail into evolving inner city neighborhoods?<br>
> <br>
> But here is a fact about Chicago.&nbsp; Of course this happened at a time
> of
> 100 percent Democrat control.&nbsp; The street cars were on nearly all the
> boulevards until after the war.&nbsp; Chicago is a perfect grid with
> diagonals for crosstown travel.&nbsp; Now that is called "smart growth"
> for
> cities.&nbsp; If a NW or major EW street didn't have a car line, it was a
> trolley bus.&nbsp; After the war a whole fleet of advanced designed
> streetcars were purchased.&nbsp; But not long after 1950 they
> disappeared.&nbsp;
> The process used by the City government was to tax the car lines with
> either all or at least the track areas with full maintenance.&nbsp; That
> put
> the street cars at such a disadvantage the new advanced cars were both
> sold off to other cities such as Pittsburgh and others were actually
> converted to "L" trains.&nbsp; Some new documentaries blame General Motors
> for payoffs--and that would fit with what we know about Chicago
> Democrat politicians?<br>
> <br>
> And from our Grandparents' time--the car lines were not really built
> for the factory workers in the inner Chicago, but for those who might
> buy new land and houses at the end of the "high speed rails."
> (streetcars)&nbsp; Each subdivision was built on a carline with a central
> set of shopping buildings.<br>
> <br>
> Eric<br>
> <br>
> Matt Logan wrote:
> <blockquote cite="mid:[EMAIL PROTECTED]"
>  type="cite">
>   <pre wrap="">After reading quite a bit about this subject, my opinion is
> that The
> Republican controlled state assembly, and the federal government under
> republican control has done just as much "command and control" over
> local transportation projects as you suggest an Obama administration
> would.  Whether the massive and easy highway funding and
> slower-n-mollasses running up a tree in winter transit process is merely
> a result of pork-barrel politics or a more deliberate goal, the fact
> remains that Republicans have an impressive record of promoting
> low-density land-use/transportation environments.
> Ideally I'd love to see our government undertake a process of reforming
> the State and Federal transportation funding model to give metropolitan
> areas (READ: local governments) more direct control over transportation
> funding.
> In fact, let me outline my plan right now:
> The state shall control no more than 25% of all federal/state
> transportation monies collected/distributed in the state.
> That 25% shall be dedicated exclusively to maintaining transportation
> infrastructure outside of metropolitan areas.  Any money left over from
> the 25% must be distributed to local units of government.
> Under no circumstances shall the state earmark monies outside of that
> 25% for any one particular mode of transportation, location, or project.
> Monies not utilized by the state are to be distributed to metropolitan
> areas based on population with no strings attached.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Eric Westhagen [<a class="moz-txt-link-freetext"
> href="mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]">mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]</a>]
> Sent: Saturday, September 27, 2008 2:50 PM
> To: Matt Logan; BikiesSubmissions
> Subject: Re: [Bikies] Where They Stand: Obama and McCain on
> Transportation
> Dear Matt,
> I read your link to JS online.  That article is my only knowledge and
> experience with your question.  My answer would begin with the premise
> that only Government can construct projects not tied to economic
> decisions.  The pyramids in Egypt were a good example and FDR's WPA, was
> probably for similar reasons.  In a voting toss up State like Wisconsin,
> for Tommy Thompson to remain in office that long, he both had his ear to
> the ground and was basically "bi-partisan."  The JS article did not make
> your contention that somehow the Governor was against light rail within
> the City of Milwaukee and "greater Milwaukee and Norquist" were madly in
> favor.  It seems they sank much money into studying the question.  Since
> the light rail would not affect the rest of the State, had the areas
> lumped as the seven counties backed the proposal, I would expect the
> governor would also have done so.  Certainly the State outside Milwaukee
> should not have been liable for moneys or should have their overall
> transportation moneys be diverted for a Milwaukee meto system.  So, why
> didn't Norquist go ahead, anyway?  Why couldn't they have linked the
> system with the major highways like Chicago's NW if getting to --say
> Miller Park, Summerfest, or other outer areas was a big thing?  Doesn't
> it boil down to the problem that when something doesn't make "economic
> sense" and is just a convenience or amenity,  paid for by "other peoples
> money", an awful lot of politics gets involved?  Yet it is only the
> Government that can bull through such uneconomic projects as the Boston
> grand tunnel.  Personally I don't wish to fly and always take the
> railroad.  But I remember back in the 1970s, my Mother would call her
> old friends to meet for lunch in the Loop in Chicago, asking they took
> the "L" and subway from the NW Side.  But they all refused to take
> "light rail" even from Irving Park as safety had so deteriorated.  And
> in the JS article, that topic was also mentioned.
> Nevertheless, Government does have the power to put through nearly
> anything.  We certainly have seen that this past week.  Maybe many of
> the old rail beds turned to bike lanes should be relayed with tracks,
> now there is once again an economic need?
> And last, it seems the 6 billion to which you referred, is for all the
> highway, bridge, and related infrastructure rebuilding and repair  for
> "seven counties."
> Matt Logan wrote:
>   </pre>
>   <blockquote type="cite">
>     <pre wrap="">Eric,
> I was wondering how you felt about the State of Wisconsin's (under
> republican control at the time) intrusion into Milwaukee's light rail
> project about 15 years ago?
> <a class="moz-txt-link-freetext"
> href="http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=794156";>http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=794156</a>
> Basically, the state used command and control policies to torpedo
>     </pre>
>   </blockquote>
>   <pre wrap=""><!---->light
>   </pre>
>   <blockquote type="cite">
>     <pre wrap="">rail and forced the $6 bil Marquette interchange to be
> built against
>     </pre>
>   </blockquote>
>   <pre wrap=""><!---->the
>   </pre>
>   <blockquote type="cite">
>     <pre wrap="">wishes of Milwaukee County.
> - Matt.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Eric Westhagen [<a class="moz-txt-link-freetext"
> href="mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]">mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]</a>]
> Sent: Friday, September 26, 2008 11:20 AM
> To: Matt Logan; BikiesSubmissions
> Subject: Re: [Bikies] Where They Stand: Obama and McCain on
> Transportation
> Dear Matt Logan,
> It comes as no surprise that Democrats embrace Federal and State
> intrusion into zoning and worse to create "ideal" living spaces under
> the banner of "smart growth."
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>     </pre>
>   </blockquote>
>   <pre wrap=""><!---->
>   </pre>
> </blockquote>
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