What's drawing the participants to the $75-a-person, all-day conference at the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee is a much larger issue: The multibillion-dollar gap between the costs of the roads and public transit services that officials and citizens say they want and the cash available to pay for those transportation improvements.
Toll roads in the Illinois style? Not an option. Hybrid vehicles, diesels, and gas-sippers? Less dough for the Highway Trust Fund. Property taxes? Burdensome already. Special tax districts? A possibility.
Once upon a time, the power companies built railroad tracks and transmission lines in the same corridor. The purpose of building the railroad was in some cases to secure the franchise to deliver the power, some of which was provided via trolley pole to the railroad cars. And to keep those trolleys busy on weekends, sometimes the power company would build an amusement park at lineside. Chicago's Ravinia and Pittsburgh's Kennywood come to mind; the Pewaukee Yacht Club occupies space near another such amusement park.