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Milwaukee's The Hop streetcar strikes out again on federal money for extension

Milwaukee wanted money for The Hop's Wisconsin Center extension from the fed's RAISE grants. Instead, other Wisconsin projects got funding.
the hop
Posted at 6:52 AM, Aug 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-12 07:52:43-04

MILWAUKEE — A plan to bring The Hop streetcar to the Wisconsin Center in downtown Milwaukee has fallen flat once again.

Proponents hoped the $33 million extension would be included in the latest round of transportation awards from the federal government. But it didn't make the cut - for the fourth time in a row. Without that money, the city may have some trouble funding the extension.

The Milwaukee Common Council approved local funding for the project in 2016. Most of the engineering work has since been completed. City leaders had their sights set on getting the rest of the money the project needed from the fed's Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity program. $25 million is what city leaders needed.

But they came up $25 million short after the U.S. Department of Transportation announced on Thursday that $2.2 billion would go to projects across the country, but not to Milwaukee's Hop extension.

RELATED: Ridership on Milwaukee's The Hop dives amid pandemic pressure

Wisconsin projects that are getting some of that cash include a bike and pedestrian bridge in Sheboygan, a bridge in Beloit, a walking path in Crandon and a bus garage for the Oneida Nation, our partners at the Milwaukee Business Journal report.

The plan was for the new track to be built along Vel R. Phillips Avenue to link the existing Hop routes to West Wisconsin Avenue, where the Wisconsin Center is located.

Such an extension could build on recent bustle in the area. The convention center is already expanding under a $400 million project. The Republican National Convention will likely use the space when the RNC comes to Milwaukee in 2024. And Kohl's wants to open a new store at Phillips and West Wisconsin by next fall.

The city does have about $1.4 million left from the $14.2 million awarded in 2015 for The Hop. That money is supposed to be used for the extension to the lakefront, specifically the track running under the Couture building. Once the lakefront extension is complete, the convention center extension is next in line, the BizJournal reports.

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