It looks like Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett has the votes for his desired downtown streetcar, but taxpayers outside the city’s limits will be stuck with nearly half of the bill for the proposed $124 million project’s first phase.

Milwaukee Alderman Bob Donovan on Tuesday conceded that streetcar proponents have the votes on the Milwaukee Common Council  to approve the funding plan at the council’s meeting Wednesday. Donovan told Wisconsin Reporter he believes some council members who had been on the fence jumped off and joined Barrett’s bunch.

But streetcar opponents expect to drop a parliamentary procedure that could delay final action until the council’s Feb. 10 meeting.

That will give an opposition group, led by Donovan and Alderman Joe Davis, a chance to change minds. It also will provide the group more time to gather more signatures on a direct legislation petition requiring any Milwaukee rail plan in excess of $20 million to be subject to referendum.

Donovan estimated the campaign has collected 8,000 to 9,000 of the 31,000 signatures needed, but said he’s confident there are “tens of thousands more out there.”

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