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West Allis will explore the cost of painting railroad bridge over Greenefield Avenue at 105th Street

July 1, 2014

West Allis — Tired of waiting for the Union Pacific to paint its railroad bridge over Greenfield Avenue at 105th Street, West Allis will see how much it would cost to do the work itself.

It would use federal block grant money for the job, not property taxes.

"Everybody knows that bridge is pretty hideous," said Alderman Marty Weigel. It's a stumbling block to the city cleaning up its image, he said.

"It's a definite eyesore," agreed Alderwoman Rosalie Reinke.

On a split vote, the council decided to seek bids for the job. Alderman Vince Vitale cast one of the two votes against.

He too wants the bridge painted, Vitale said, but he strongly objects to the double standard that exists between the railroad and ordinary citizens.

"We tell them they have to fix their properties," he said, but the railroad can just ignore city ordinances.

"Who are the laws made for?" Vitale said. Also voting against was Alderman Michael Czaplewski.

Alderman Michael May who voted to get bids said the situation is frustrating because the federal government protects railroads.

"There's absolutely nothing the city can do," May said.

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