Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Crying the Blues Over Transportation...

We're supposed to get all emotional over this.

Eric Isbister is astonished by the lack of a regional transportation system in southeast Wisconsin, and he doesn’t understand why political leaders can’t find common ground to solve the transportation problem.

“If we’re going to grow Milwaukee and add more jobs to the economy, we simply need more public transportation,” said Isbister, a native New Yorker who, with his wife, Mary, acquired Mequon’s General MetalWorks Corp. in 1997.

The name "Isbister" is familiar to Milwaukeeans, too. A fellow named Bill Isbister was a high-profile industrialist here back in the 1960's/'70's.


General MetalWorks has a history of hiring general laborers from Milwaukee’s central city, providing training and promoting the minority workers into better-paying manufacturing jobs. The company, with estimated revenue of $14 million in 2008 and 80 employees, is struggling to find workers, especially welders, at its second assembly plant in Slinger.


A commenter on the original article (linked above) wonders why Mr. Isbister purchased a business in Mequon and then added a location in Slinger (!!!!!) and suddenly has problems with transportation.

A good question. After all, the 30th/Burleigh industrial corridor has PLENTY of empty factory space, as does the Valley, and (for that matter), Butler, West Allis, West Milwaukee, the Near South Side of Milwaukee......we could go on, and on...

It's particularly interesting that Isbister complains about "welders." He's only competing with the 8,000-lb. canary--Bucyrus--in trying to find them.

Perhaps it's wages?


Or should Mr. Isbister hire people and TRAIN them?


Instead, 'the Region' should provide transportation, according to Mr. Isbister.

Most industrials understand that if you want labor, you go where the labor is. Mequon is not a haven for welders, and Slinger is halfway to the Moon from Milwaukee. Seems to me that Mr. Isbister didn't study the rulebook too carefully before his purchase(s).

There is a worthwhile debate about transportation. But Mr. Isbister's complaints ring a bit hollow and lack credibility.

HT: FoxPolitics


Unknown said...

Just what needed to be said. Good work.

Beer, Bicycles and the VRWC said...

The money thrown at an outdated and inefficient mass transit system is part of the problem with getting business to Milwaukee. If riders had to pay the real cost of busses, trains or light rail, even fewer would ride. Those of us whgo pay taxes subsidize the rest.

Amy said...

The money thrown at an outdated and inefficient mass transit system is part of the problem with getting business to Milwaukee.

No, the problem with getting business to Milwaukee is the anti-business tax climate, stupid government mandates (see: sick leave), and a government that looks more like keystone cops than competent politicians.

Anonymous said...

Deek maybe you should consider the road subsidies. Especially the price we all pay for car exhaust pollution.

Anonymous said...

And maybe you should look at the benefits that this public investment brings. Check out the TTI's Urban Mobility Report of 2007.

Beer, Bicycles and the VRWC said...

The cost far outweighs the benefits. In case you hadn't noticed, taxpayers are running a little short of cash just now.

If mass transit is such a good deal, businesses would be loving it, not hating it. You can show me all the studies you want; the proof is in the $$$$$.

Anonymous said...

Okay. So tell me this Deekaman why are so many businesses supporting it in Denver and Salt Lake City?
And what is your solution to wasted fuel and traffic congestion?
If taxpayers are running a little low on cash then why not legalize marijuana and put a tax on it.

Beer, Bicycles and the VRWC said...

I don't know; I don't live in either of those places. It is not a justification for doing it here.

You apparently haven't been anywhere with REAL traffic.

An empty bus wastes more fuel than my truck. And if you've been paying attention, many run empty of close to it.

I have no objection to legalizing dope under the same restrictions as alcohol.

Anonymous said...

Well buses are not nearly as popular as trains, and when I rode the train in Salt Lake City, they were full.

Beer, Bicycles and the VRWC said...

This is not SLC.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't have to be. The same is true in Dallas and the Twin Cities, the trains are popular.