Thank you all who have supported efforts to save and invest in public transportation in southeastern Wisconsin…we have seen the power of your efforts over the past few months as so much progress has been made with the state legislature to move forward with an RTA bill.  Supporters from all walks of life have really stepped up to the plate and we have seen this through various media coverage.  Many thanks to CAT members who have submitted Letters to the Editor and commentary supporting this issue.

The RTA bill is a jobs bill.  It is imperative that we save our local transit sytems by enabling local communities to form Regional Transit Authorities (RTA) and dedicate local funding sources to support and invest in them.  Why do we say this?  Check out these articles:

If you read these articles, please comment on them!  Tell people why you support the RTA bill.

  • Tired of the misinformation and misconceptions?  See SERTA’s Myth vs. Fact outline
  • CAT Groups site:  Two of our members, Bill Sell and Megan Carr went through the audio of the March 11 Assembly Hearing and posted some of the more powerful speeches.  Visit the Files page and scroll down to the files that start with “Wisconsin Assembly” to hear them.  Or, view the Discussions page for a full list with time codes.
  • “What Business Leaders and Others Are Saying About Transit”:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bd3jxX7JGr0  This video starts out like the CEO press conference but is very different once you get into it (only 5 minutes long)

NOW IS THE TIME TO KEEP IT UP!!

State legislators are starting to feel the pressure, but we need to let them know we support what they are doing.  In particular, outside interests have started targeting Senators John Lehman, Jim Sullivan, and Jeff Plale, and Rep. Cory Mason for supporting High Speed Rail and KRM, and confusing them with the effort to save local transit systems.  Also, Representatives John Steinbrink, Peter Barca, Tamara Grigsby and Senator Lena Taylor have been key supporters of this issue.

We need to thank our transit champions!   Call your state representative and senator today and ask them to continue to show leadership to ensure that legislation to fund local transit systems and save MCTS is a priority.  It must be approved this session, before it is too late!

See below for additional information from our friends at SERTA – their latest “Advocate Alert” spells out clearly why RTA and dedicated funding is needed, and what the consequences will be to SE WI if we don’t make this happen.

SERTA’s Weekly “Advocate Alert”

Please take five minutes this week to make a call and support the movement to save local transit. Already called your legislator? Let us know here: http://tinyurl.com/yg3fxau.

Did you know that public transportation is an essential part of our community?  Transit connects workers to jobs, and brings consumers to stores. Buses promote access to healthcare and support visitors to our region.

  • Fifty percent of MCTS riders use the bus to get to work.
  • Over seventy percent of individuals who use the MCTS fixed route system do not regularly have an automobile available to make those trips.
  • MCTS also provides over one million rides per year to persons with disabilities through our paratransit services. 

Did you know that reliance on property tax funding has resulted in a reduction in transit service and an increase in bus fares?

  • From 2001 to 2010, bus service hours have been reduced by 20%.
  • From 2001 to 2010, the cash fare has increased by 50%.  
  • An October 2008 study by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Center for Economic Development found that, from 2001 until 2007 close to 41,000 jobs became inaccessible by transit due to MCTS service cuts. 

Did you know that without additional funding, services could be cut an additional 35% potentially resulting in:

  • An elimination of all Freeway Flyers;
  • An elimination of all UBUS service to colleges;
  • An elimination of service to special events like Summerfest and Milwaukee Brewers games;
  • An elimination of one out of every three local bus routes; and
  • A major restructuring of fourteen other local routes.
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