The past month has seen a number of key proposals by the Governor and State legislature that will have a major impact on local transit systems across the state of Wisconsin.  Also, local elections will shape the future of how the challenges to our transit systems are addressed.  Scroll down for more information, links to articles on what these changes may mean for our community and the national implications.

What can you do to help support and preserve transit in Wisconsin? We need the voices of all advocates and supporters now more than ever!  Join us on March 31st for a full Coalition meeting.  We will provide you with a full update on the State budget and transit, and candidates for the Milwaukee County Executive and Supervisor races are invited to discuss their views on transit.

Coalition for Advancing Transit Meeting – Open to the Public
Thursday, March 31st 2011 at 6:30pm
At IndependenceFirst, located at 540 S. 1st Street, Milwaukee, WI 53204
Located on bus route 15 or visit www.ridemcts.org to plan your trip

RSVP to Kristi@uedawi.org or 414.562.9904

As we noted in a recent update (scroll down), the removal of collective bargaining provisions jeopardizes $46million in Federal transit aids for Wisconsin transit systems.  This may result in a 30-50% reduction in operating budgets for many mid-size communities in the State and a loss of that magnitude will impact all systems.

The Governor’s 2011-2013 State Budget proposal stipulates that effective in 2013, the costs for public transit will be removed out of the State transportation fund and into the very competitive General Fund.  It also reduces operating support to local transit systems by 10% and eliminates the ability of local governments to introduce local funding alternatives. Local transit systems throughout the state rely on these funds to provide annual operating assistance – for example, the state investment in Milwaukee public transportation is $70 million a year – a significant part of the Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) annual budget.

Lastly, legislators introduced bills that call for the elimination of ALL Regional Transit Authorities that were enabled in the 2009-2010 State Budget (SB25 and AB36).  NOTE: Existing RTAs would have NO fiscal impact on the state budget in this biennium – why eliminate these important tools for local communities?

Transit is a crucial part of a growing economy – in Milwaukee County close to 45% of individuals who use transit services take the bus to work or other job-related opportunities.  In the Business Journal’s recent “40 Under 40” issue, winners were asked “Do you support an improved transit system in SE WI as a means of encouraging economic development?”  79% of them said “yes” with no other question generating such a strong, positive response.  Emerging leaders in this region recognize that transit is absolutely vital to business growth, talent attraction and connecting our community.

A brief summary of the proposed State budget and its impacts on transit was put together by our friends at TransitNow.  Join us on Thursday, March 31st and learn more about crucial efforts to preserve and improve our transit systems!  Get engaged in helping move forward with solutions for the challenges facing our local transit systems.

Moving Forward Together
The Coalition for Advancing Transit

ARTICLE LINKS:

MILWAUKEE COUNTY SPRING ELECTIONS:

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