Friday, December 2, 2011

Can't Tell If Political Stunt Or Genuine Faux Outrage

Brett Healy, President of the Koch brothers-funded propaganda agency, MacIver Institute (for the Chronically Dishonest), filed a petition with the Public Service Commission (PSC), asking them to determine if the cost of moving the underground lines be forced on the tax payers of the City of Milwaukee as opposed to the utility companies.  More than a little self-serving and embarrassing for him, he then used his propagandist agency to promote his deed.

On Thursday, the PSC voted to accept the petition and make a decision regarding it.

This could get interesting.

Healy's complaint about the street car is that the estimates from the power company is that it could cost more than $50 million to move the underground lines. He feels that he should not have to pay a higher utility bill for something that does not benefit him directly.

The odd thing is that Healy never made a bit of noise about the utility costs associated with the work that will need to be done with the reconstruction of the zoo interchange, even though the cost associated with that is just as high, if not higher, than that for the streetcar.  (In fact, the whole project is going to more than two billion dollars)  And the interchange won't benefit him directly either.

So, by Healy complaining about one situation and not the other would indicate that he isn't all that opposed to to paying more for things that don't benefit him directly.  Because of this, it seems to me that Healy's stunt is more to embarrass Mayor Tom Barrett rather than genuine outrage.  Perhaps the Koch brothers are afraid that Barrett is thinking of running for governor again when Scott Walker gets recalled.

Or it could simply be that he is following the right wing tradition of paying homage to the road builders while resisting all things rail related.

Either way, as I said, it could get interesting.

Will the PSC follow precedence by putting the cost to the utilities and help defray the costs from the already overburdened tax payers or will they stick it to Milwaukee?

And if they follow precedence, will Healy right another self-serving, politically slanted propaganda piece?

Or if Healy is successful and pushes the cost on Milwaukee tax payers, could a progressive group like Citizens Allied for Sane Highways go after the zoo interchange construction? And if they would, would Healy then be consistent and support their actions?

Like I said, interesting.  Someone pass me the popcorn, wouldja?


  1. I did find it interesting that the PSC will only rule on We Energies not At&T and ATC. Also to note when the utilities first stated their estimates for the Marquette Interchange they said $120 million, in the end it came in around $20-30 million. That will happen with the streetcar as well. As far as why this happened oh just another attack on Milwaukee..

  2. I was aware of the disparity between their estimate and the final cost, but had not been aware that the difference was that large. Thanks, Dave.