An update from the Coalition for Advancing Transit…

On the Federal front, Transportation for America (T4America) has been working to align national, state and local transportation policies with issues such as economic opportunity, energy security, housing and more.  They are focusing on issues that will play a key role in giving families and individuals greater and more appealing options when it comes to transportation – their vision for the 21st Century.

T4America advocates for more equitable funding for transit at the federal level and this week the Senate introduced new legislation to provide up to $2 billion in grants for transit agencies across the U.S. to preserve vital services.  Learn more about this bill and take action; check out their site and learn more about T4America.

On the Local front…Representative Tamara Grigsby continues to shine when it comes to supporting transit solutions for SE WI.  This week her Op-Ed was featured in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. See below for a message from her and links to the full Op-Ed.

And…the Milwaukee County Transit System’s (MCTS) celebration of “150 Years of Public Transportation” continues on the morning of Wednesday, June 9 with Miller Lite Free Rides on ALL ROUTES from when the buses pull out until 9:00AM. Route and schedule information is available by calling 1-800-FREE-RIDES (1-800-373-3743), by texting “FREERIDES” to 30364 or by visiting www.MillerLiteFreeRides.com.

Moving Forward Together
The Coalition for Advancing Transit

Dear Friend of Transit,

I wanted to take a moment to pass onto you an opinion piece that’s running in today’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. We can’t give up on our communities and our regions that depend on public transportation. Please know that I’m committed to continuing this fight.

Best Wishes,
Tamara Grigsby
State Representative, 18th Assembly District

Link to article >>>

The necessity of transit, By Tamara Grigsby Posted: May 25, 2010

Like the many businesses that support it, public transportation is a cornerstone of any modern, urban economy. Businesses, labor leaders, community advocates, and employers realize the necessity of mass transit.

With so many groups showing continued support for this vital investment, it’s time we all recognize the job creating benefits public transportation provides to our community and region. In a very literal sense, transit means business, which is why we cannot give up on expanding economic opportunity through smart investments in public transportation. A functioning transit system makes sense in terms of the opportunities it creates and the money it saves.

Studies show that a commitment to transit can save residents approximately $1,040 in vehicle, parking, and roadway costs, providing a 277% annual return on transit investments. According to the American Public Transportation Association, households can save an average of $9,293 in transportation costs each year.  This is in addition to savings in the form of congestion reductions, increased traffic safety, and a healthier environment that benefits everyone.

Given the obvious positives, opposition to smart transit investments is perplexing, especially when recent efforts to revitalize the Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) could have been tied to direct property tax relief for Milwaukee County.

Throughout the recent debate on regional transportation for Southeastern Wisconsin, businesses highlighted the many successes they were having with new job creation, yet raised concerns as to how they could possibly gain access to a necessary workforce if there were no functioning bus system in Milwaukee.

The combination of public savings, benefits to business growth, and additional development that comes from investing in public transportation underscores how truly essential transit it is to our community and economy.

We cannot forget one of the most important aspects of public transit: the people who use and rely on it.

According to customer surveys taken by those who use buses in Milwaukee County, an overwhelming 70% of riders do not have a car they can count on for travelling to work, the hospital, or a number of other important locations.

According to one estimate, MCTS also uses its paratransit services to provide more than 1 million rides a year to persons with disabilities. Given the number of jobs, businesses, and individual lives that depend on our transit system, the implications of its further erosion will be disastrous.

We must find a way to stop the coming transit tragedy.

Public transit is a smart way to grow the economy, creating a public investment that has vast benefits, both public and private. Failure to invest in this important and economically vital infrastructure will result in nothing short than the continued decay and eventual collapse of Milwaukee County as we once knew it.

The current legislative session is over, but the fight for public transportation is not. Transit means business for everyone, which is why everyone needs to come together for transit as Wisconsin moves forward.

Tamara Grigsby, a Democrat, represents the 18th Assembly District.

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