The Gateway to Milwaukee’s Position on the Milwaukee Streetcar

The following statement was sent to Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Alderman Terry Witkowski on behalf of the Board of Directors of the Airport Gateway Business Association on January 20, 2015.


The Gateway to Milwaukee, supported by the Airport Gateway Business Association as well as BIDs #40 and #50, seeks to promote an efficient, integrated transportation system in the Milwaukee area.  A successful passenger and freight transportation network is critical to supporting our regional economy.  As an advocate for business and economic growth, we understand the economic importance of transportation first hand as General Mitchell International Airport, Amtrak passenger rail, MCTS, the interstate highway system, the Port of Milwaukee including freight rail and all other transportation networks that converge within our business district.  The successful performance of each mode has a direct link to our economic vitality.  The integration of these modes is the next step in the evolution of transportation in Milwaukee.

As such, we support the development of transit improvements as it fits into a regional transportation network.  Efforts to integrate the street car with employment and population clusters outside of the initial downtown route are vital to the system’s success.  We understand that there are many such clusters throughout metro Milwaukee and we are advocating for an extension to General Mitchell International Airport to be included in the extension plans.  We are also advocating for the integration of the streetcar system into a broader, holistic transportation plan for the region.  Key questions such as how the streetcar fits into the existing County transit system and SE Wisconsin’s regional transit plans should be addressed.

Other world class American cities such as Minneapolis, St. Louis, Seattle, Dallas, Chicago, Salt Lake City, Denver, Atlanta, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Boston have rail transit connections between their airports and downtowns.  It is more than coincidence that these areas are also succeeding economically and in their ability to attract talent and investment.  We believe that Milwaukee can aspire to be a world class American city, and an enhanced transit connection to the airport is an important part of our ability to achieve that status.

Respectfully, please consider our thoughts and support when pursuing the Milwaukee Streetcar as it relates to an integrated multi-modal transportation system that includes the airport.   We look forward to partnering with the City of Milwaukee in planning and developing future extensions within the region.