Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz announced shortly after 1 p.m. on Monday that he would no longer be pushing for a streetcar system in Madison. His statement reads:
There's an old saying in politics: when you've dug yourself into a hole, the first thing you do is drop the shovel. So I have decided that I will not continue to pursue the issue of streetcars in Madison. The issue is off the table.
The Streetcar Study Committee will meet one more time to finalize its report, and will then be disbanded. I will not pursue streetcars as part of the Regional Transit Authority.
Major public investments like streetcars should only be undertaken when there is broad consensus in the community, and that is clearly not the case with this issue. Ironically, I have not taken the time to build support for streetcars because I have been focused on more important priorities such as public safety, just the opposite of what has become a common misunderstanding.
I continue to be concerned about the challenges that our regional transportation infrastructure faces in the years to come. I will work with community and regional leaders to develop answers to those challenges that have broad public support. Addressing this issue is vitally important to our region's quality of life and economic development future.
This statement follows a contentious public meeting last Wednesday regarding increased crime on the southwest side of town, one in which a desire for increased resources for the Madison Police Department was coupled with vocal dissatisfaction over the trolley proposal.
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