County Board passes 2011 Budget and WI DOT halts progress on Inter-City Rail

There has been a lot of activity related to transit issues in the past week.  See below for links and updates on the 2011 County Budget and the impact to MCTS, the continuing changes in the Inter-City or High-Speed Rail initiative and more.   A few members have inquired how to get involved in that issue more – we’ve listed a few ways below for you as well as posted some tips on our group site.

As we head into 2011, a core group of CAT Members are working on a plan to resolve the serious challenges facing our local transit systems – working to get a Regional Transit Authority (RTA) and dedicated funding for buses.  This will require a renewed sense of purpose and activity as we reach out to the public and a new group of elected officials. We will need your voices and your action as we move forward, so stay tuned!

Moving Forward Together
Coalition for Advancing Transit

County Board Narrowly Approves Budget for 2011: http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/106905918.html

Key transit provision – they eliminated three Freeway Flyer routes – 45, 47 and 39 – but without abbreviating late-night service hours on regular bus routes as Walker had proposed.  Here’s a link to the update from MCTS: http://ridemcts.com/About-MCTS/News/Update-on-2011-Milwaukee-County-Budget—11/9/10/

Thank you to all those who contacted County Supervisors regarding their support for transit and to eliminate any service cuts or reductions.

Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker indicated today that he will be considering vetoes to bring the slight increase to the tax levy back down.  Vetoes will then be considered by the County Board on November 17thVisit this Updated Action Alert page on the County Budget for more information:  http://bit.ly/bM1GR1

Inter-City/High Speed Rail Project On Hold:

Yesterday, Governor Doyle released a statement noting that he has “put the project on pause, so that the U.S. (Department of Transportation) and the governor-elect can confer about the future of the high-speed rail project.”  There have been immediate economic impacts to this decision.  Additionally, today’s Journal Sentinel article reports that Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has indicated that if Governor-elect Walker opposes the project, the money will go to another state that intends to move forward with high-speed passenger rail.

WHERE TO GET INVOLVED:

  • Write a Letter to the Editor and other Media opportunities – this project needs a strong show of support now more than ever!  Visit the CAT Google Group page on Media Outreach for assistance on how to submit a Letter to the Editor and get engaged online:  http://bit.ly/aQWl1p
  • Facebook Group: “Keep High Speed Rail In Wisconsin” http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/home.php?sk=group_105273722874751
    Please note, it’s a very active group and members are posting articles and updates regularly.  Once you join, go to the Group page and click on “Edit Settings” in the top right corner to adjust anything you’d like.  Also, in the window that opens for Edit Settings, you can click on “change notification settings”
  • WISPIRG “How You Can Help” Click on “Tell Gov-Elect Walker: We Need the Train.” This will send a direct email to his office:  http://bit.ly/bcSR0W
  • Wisconsin Sierra Club also has an active group on this project. Learn more: http://wisconsin.sierraclub.org/involve/action.asp
  • For the big-picture view of Inter-City Rail and the vision for the Midwest, visit the Midwest High Speed Rail Association’s website:  http://www.midwesthsr.org/index.php
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