By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Jan 05, 2015 at 12:36 PM

At 1 p.m. today at City Hall, Ald. Bob Donovan and Ald. Joe Davis, Sr. will hold a press conference announcing a citywide petition drive to force a binding referendum on funding the proposed Downtown streetcar plan.

To do so, the two aldermen have formed a committee called United for Milwaukee, which seeks to pass a local ordinance requiring all rail transit spending over $20 million be approved by referendum. 

"This $123 million plan has been described as the first of several phases of the project," Alds. Donovan and Davis, Sr. said in a joint statement.

"There are, however, no funding sources identified for these extraordinary future capital expenses and no plans to even cover the operating expenses of the first phase after three years. Before we create an unbearable mortgage for generations of city taxpayers, we believe it is critical to let the people decide if this is the right direction for Milwaukee."

For the committee and the drive to be successful, state law requires that it must collect signatures equal to 15 percent of the number of city voters in the last gubernatorial election, which equals out to about 31,000 signatures. The committee also has a 60-day window in which to collect the signatures. 

According to the committee, however, it plans to obtain and deliver the necessary signatures before that date, since the entire Common Council is expected to take up the $123 million streetcar proposal on Wednesday, Jan. 21.