City Announces Bold Proposal to Expand the Hop and Extend Momentum Beyond Downtown Milwaukee
Plan would fund construction of extension to Wisconsin Avenue in time for the 2020 DNC; advance project development work to extend into the Bronzeville and Walker’s Point neighborhoods
May 2, 2019
MILWAUKEE— Thursday, May 2 Officials from the City of Milwaukee and The Hop, presented by Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, announced today a comprehensive plan designed to capitalize on the momentum of downtown and the streetcar to expand its many benefits into the Bronzeville and Walker’s Point neighborhoods adjacent to downtown. The $46.8 million package, which includes $20 million previously approved by the Common Council in a 2016 resolution, relies solely on funding from amendments to a variety of TIDs located along the proposed expansion of the route.
“Our vision for the streetcar from the very beginning has been as a catalyst for economic growth that would positively impact the heart of the city and then continue into the neighborhoods,” Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said. “What we are outlining today is a critical next step in fulfilling that promise and ensuring that the momentum we’re seeing downtown continues to spread to Bronzeville, Walker’s Point and beyond. Now is the time for us to capitalize on the progress we’ve made and commit to an even brighter future for Milwaukee.”
The first phase of the resolution involves a $28 million extension of the existing M-Line north along Vel R. Phillips Avenue and Fifth Street to Wisconsin Avenue to provide a direct connection to the Convention Center and additional Westown destinations. Under the current proposal, construction would begin in Fall 2019 and be completed in Spring 2020, with the extension operational in advance of the 2020 Democratic National Convention – an event expected to attract over 50,000 visitors to Milwaukee and upwards of $200 million in economic impact for the city. Completing this critical connection to the Convention Center now positions Milwaukee to showcase itself as a dynamic, connected city for a global audience next summer, and is an important step in fulfilling the streetcar’s promise of connecting additional communities to downtown’s progress.
To make the connections to Bronzeville and Walker’s Point a reality – a fundamental goal of the streetcar project since its inception – the resolution also commits $18.8 million towards project development work including planning, environmental studies and engineering. This critical work will advance the proposed route expansion into the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Improvement Grant Program, positioning The Hop to receive future federal funding from a predictable, transit-specific program to advance the system. The full three-mile extension, which would have a northern terminus at N. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and North Avenue and a southern terminus at S. First St. and E. Pittsburgh Avenue, would support further economic development and small business growth in both the Bronzeville and Walker’s Point neighborhoods.
In addition, the plan would fund an alternatives analysis study to identify the preferred route for further expansion into the heart of the Walker’s Point neighborhood. Building on the recently completed Moving Milwaukee Forward: Equitable Growth through Transit-Oriented Development study, the alternatives analysis will delve deeper into the variety of prospective routes and position the City to move forward with north/south expansion of the route in an equitable manner.
In total, the $46.8 million project is proposed to be funded through amendments to six existing TIDs:
- TID 39 (Hilton Hotel): $4 million ($4m previously approved in 2016)
- TID 41 (Time Warner Riverwalk): $12.5 million ($8m previously approved in 2016)
- TID 48 (Park East): $16.0 million
- TID 56 (Erie/Jefferson): $5.8 million
- TID 75 (Reed Street Yards): $500,000
- TID 88 (4th/Wisconsin): $8 million ($8m previously approved in 2016)
For more information on the proposed expansion of The Hop, including details of the complete north/south extension from Bronzeville to Walker’s Point, visit www.thehopmke.com/expanding-the-hop.