Mayor Tom Barrett, Senator Tammy Baldwin and Congresswoman Gwen Moore announced Monday that the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded the city of Milwaukee a $14.2 million grant to enable construction of the Milwaukee streetcar’s Lakefront Line.
The Lakefront Line, approved along with the Milwaukee streetcar’s Phase 1 route by the Common Council and Mayor Barrett in February, will connect Cathedral Square to the lakefront using Milwaukee and Broadway and Michigan and Clybourn. It will link to the planned $122 million, 44-story lakefront Couture development, which will incorporate a streetcar stop.
In addition to this extension to the Phase 1 route, the mayor intends on additional system expansions into the neighborhoods as part of a modern streetcar network improving transit across the city.
"This critical federal grant for the Milwaukee streetcar will bring thousands of residents and visitors to major attractions and new developments on Milwaukee’s lakefront," Mayor Barrett said. "This announcement builds on the positive momentum we’re experiencing in the heart of the city and will also have a significant impact on our neighborhoods creating hundreds of construction jobs and better connecting our neighborhoods to downtown.
"This major investment will further enhance Downtown Milwaukee’s recent renaissance, which includes $2.6 billion of public and private investment since 2005, and another $2.4 billion under construction or planned.
"I greatly appreciate the support we’ve received for this grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, Milwaukee’s congressional delegation and the dozens of business and community leaders who submitted letters of support for this major federal investment in Milwaukee’s economy and transportation network," Mayor Barrett said.
"This is a strong federal investment in 21st century Wisconsin infrastructure that will put people to work," said Senator Tammy Baldwin. "The Milwaukee streetcar will also help spur significant economic development and improve the quality of life for Milwaukee residents. I’m pleased to see this important project move forward and proud to have helped secure this investment in Milwaukee’s economy."
"Economic mobility is vital to our city’s future," said Congresswoman Moore. "That’s why I’ve dedicated so much time and effort in securing this multimillion federal grant for the Milwaukee streetcar project. With this funding, we can expand our city’s public transportation options while fostering local economic growth and development. I’d like to thank Mayor Barrett for his continued efforts to help Milwaukee reach its full economic potential through this streetcar project."
The Common Council in February approved $14.2 million for the Lakefront Line as part of the vote in support of the Phase 1 route. The federal award was from the federal TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) program. The Department of Transportation was to award $500 million in TIGER grants this year, although it received $9.8 billion in grant applications.
The funds will be for the construction of the Lakefront Line and to purchase one streetcar vehicle that will operate on the line. A portion of the funds will also be used to add a second track on St. Paul Avenue, between North 2nd and 5th Streets, in order to give the system more flexibility and to allow the Lakefront Line to run between the Milwaukee Intermodal Station and the lakefront during special events, such as Summerfest and the Fourth of July.