Below are a few updates, including an upcoming Community Listening Session and articles related to the 2013 Milwaukee County Budget process.  There were no major changes for MCTS in the 2013 budget, and no changes in service levels or increases in passenger fares are anticipated.  However, 2014 is when the source of stopgap funding found in 2011 (CMAQ) will run out.  We anticipate that 2013 will be a key turning point so stay tuned!

Monday, December 3rd 2013:  Community Listening Session on the Public Transit Crisis

Held from 5:30pm to 7:30pm at the Washington Park Senior Center, located at 4420 W. Vliet Street in Milwaukee. (on the 31 & 33 bus lines)  The state budget talks will begin right away in 2013, it’s important that our community is represented as it relates to the crucial issue of public transportation.  Please come out and share potential ideas!  Click here for Event Flyer

Milwaukee County Board Chair Marina Dimitrijevic announces “Chat with the Chair” events in West Allis, Cudahy, Shorewood & River Hills.  Residents are invited to meet the Chairwoman, to ask questions about County government and to explore ways for Milwaukee County and all its municipalities to work together. Events will be held THIS week:

  • Monday, November 26, 2012 from 6 to 7pm in Cudahy, with Supervisor Patricia Jursik at theCudahy Family Library, 4665 South Packard Avenue, 53110.
  • Tuesday, November 27, 2012 from 6 to 7pm in Shorewood, with Supervisor Gerry P. Broderick at the Shorewood Public Library, 3920 North Murray Avenue, 53211.
  • Thursday, November 29, 2012 from 6 to 7pm in River Hills, with Supervisor Theodore Lipscomb, Sr. at the River Hills Village Hall, 7650 North Pheasant Lane, 53217.

IN THE NEWS:

Just wanted to pass along these updates regarding transit issues in southeast Wisconsin.  We are in the midst of the 2013 Milwaukee County budget process, and there have been a number of editorials over the past two months that make strong statements of support for our buses.  The 2013 budget thus far does not project many changes regarding MCTS however; it’s an important year to shore up support in anticipation of a loss of the 2012 CMAQ funds after 2014.  Stay tuned!

Milwaukee County Budget Hearing – Monday, October 29, 2012 at 6:30pm: 

The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors will host their Annual Budget Public Hearing on Monday, October 29th in the Bradley Pavilion of the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, 929 N. Water Street in Milwaukee. Doors will open at 6 p.m.; the meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m.  The hearing is an opportunity to hear the Supervisors review the County Executive’s Recommended Budget, including amendments.  This is a great forum to show your support for transit!  Free parking will be available in the Marcus Center structure, located one block north of the Marcus Center.  View Flyer

Milwaukee Streetcar Event: “Facts & Future” – Tuesday, October 30, 2012 from 5:30-7:30pm
Love it, hate it or looking for more info?  Come to this presentation hosted at the Pabst Pub in the Historic Pabst Theater.  City Engineer Jeffrey Polenske and Department of Public Works Commissioner Ghassan Korban will be on hand to give updates on the project and answer questions.  Event Information here   You can also receive regular updates for the Milwaukee Streetcar by following them on Facebook.

And scroll down…some interesting articles, blogs and/or posts of late regarding Milwaukee’s density and how it could impact transit planning in the future, analysis on why Germans ride transit more than Americans and how car use is peaking in developed nations, resulting in slowing car sales and lifestyle changes that support more investment in transit infrastructure.

IN THE NEWS

It’s been a busy summer and public transportation continues to be in the news.  The Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) released a report detailing the future sustainability of the transit system, the 2013 budget process for Milwaukee County is underway and Congress passed a Federal Transportation bill.  Scroll down for the latest updates on both local and national public transportation issues.

Milwaukee County Budget Process:  County Executive Chris Abele will be holding two Town Hall meetings, which will allow the public to voice their opinions on next year’s budget – this is a great opportunity to show your support for transit

Monday, August 13, 2012 – 5:00pm-6:30pm
At McGovern Park Senior Center, 4500 W Custer Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53218

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 – 10:00am-11:30am
At West Allis City Hall Council Chambers, 7525 W. Greenfield Ave., West Allis, WI 53214

RSVP required: countyexec@milwcnty.com

Looking for more information on the upcoming budget?  The Milwaukee County Mental Health Task Force has created a page on their website dedicated to the 2013 Milwaukee County Budget, which includes materials on transportation issues.

Milwaukee County Transit System’s Future Sustainability Appears Bleak:
Last Month MCTS released a report  indicating that the financial sustainability over the next five years looks bleak. Federal CMAQ funds, the latest stop gap funding mechanism used to keep the system functioning, will expire in February of 2014 and a recent cut in state funding will have a significant impact.  The report estimates that if nothing is done, MCTS may have to cut service  from 19 to 29%. Below are links to articles and stories that discuss the potential impact:

Upcoming Public Transportation Conference:  August 14-16th in Chicago, IL
At the State Public Transportation Conference hear about best practices and programs of state associations and state transportation departments, as well as federal, state and local partnerships for public transportation. Click here to view the workshop schedule and program offerings. Co-sponsored by AASHTO and CTAA.

New Federal Transportation Bill Approved:
More than 1000 days after the last transportation bill expired, Congress finally voted to approve a new transportation bill. Unfortunately for those hoping for a bold step into the future, this bill represents a definite step backwards, the last gasp of an outdated 20th century program. Learn more about the bill here.

In The News:

 

Summer is underway and that means festival season and everything else that southeast Wisconsin has to offer!  Below are some transit-related links to resources and information that will help you get around and stay in touch.

  • Downtown Trolley is now in operation, and runs Wednesdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. through September 8.  The trolley goes past major downtown destinations and connects to shops, restaurants, spas and salons.  Rides are $1 round trip – click here for a map.
  • MCTS “Straight to the Gate” will be up and running again this summer, with dedicated service to many Milwaukee events, thanks to the use of one-time federal CMAQ funds for 2012-2013. Visit the MCTS Event Season page for all the details, and travel to Polish Fest, Summerfest, State Fair, Brewers Games, Festa Italiana and more!
  • Also, MCTS reported that bike use on buses doubled through April 30, 2012, with over 29,000 bicycles transported, as compared to last year through the same period.  It’s a great way to get around and for more information on how to use the bike racks (including a video demonstration), visit their Bikes on Buses page.

The Federal Transportation bill expired over 989 days ago, but Coalition partners across the country continue to work with Congress to “get moving on a transformational bill.”  Visit the Transportation For America website and get involved so you can stay in touch with the latest updates.

Coalition for Advancing Transit partners and members continue to work on building a sustainable and broad coalition that will hopefully forward some action by state and local legislators in the next year.  We will continue to ask them to support and invest in our regional transit system, which is key link to economic opportunity for many in southeastern Wisconsin.  Stay tuned!

Save the Date!  October 8-10, 2012: Minnesota and Wisconsin Public Transportation Conference.  Held in La Crosse, WI.  Conference Website

Below you’ll find some article links, including a recent one about efforts by MCTS and UW-Milwaukee to develop a smartphone app that would let bus riders access real-time bus location data and what Generation Y is thinking when it comes to cars.

IN THE NEWS

Reminder – YP Week kicks off on Monday, April 16th, which is Transit DayScroll down to see details for events that day; see the full schedule here.

MCTS releases FREE smart phone app
Plan your trip, find out fares and where to buy tickets.  Download here: http://yourotherwheels.com/app/

MCTS and Transit Plus Informational Session – May 8- 10am to Noon:  This session is specifically designed for people with disabilities, their family members, and service providers.  IndependenceFirst’s Transportation Consumer Advocacy Team will cover topics such as Transportation and the Americans with Disabilities Act, Transit Plus Eligibility, Fixed Route Accessibility,  Rights and Responsibilities and more!  Held at IndependenceFirst, 540 South 1st Street, Milwaukee, WI 53204.  Contact Katelyn Reimer at (414) 226-8381 (V/Relay 711) or email kreimer@independencefirst.org to register.

A recent report shows that young people are decreasing the amount they drive and increasing their use of alternative forms of transportation.  Released by WISPIRG Foundation and the Frontier Group, Transportation and the New Generation: Why Young People are Driving Less and What it Means for Transportation Policy,  demonstrates that Wisconsinites, like drivers across the country, have been driving less since the middle of the last decade. Learn more & read the report here.

IN THE NEWS

Many thanks to those who came out on March 22nd for the State Transportation Commission hearing…transit was the overwhelming issue and your support really made the difference.  Also, an extension for the Federal Transportation bill was signed last week – scroll down for article links.

NEWaukee is hosting Transit Day on April 16th as the kick off of YP Week!
Scroll down to see details for events that day.

Additionally, the week includes the Milwaukee Young Leader Awards by Newaukee & Young Milwaukee.

One of the categories is “Transit: An individual who has passion for the evolution of Milwaukee transit system. One who strives to make Milwaukee more efficient and clean to move through.”
The nominations deadline is TODAY, April 4th! Make your nomination for outstanding commitment and work for transit here.

Lunch N Learn: Noon to 1:30pm
A discussion and presentation about biking in Milwaukee, Complimentary appetizers will be served for all attendees.
Will also include a bike rack demo and “try it on for size”, and demo of a new mobile app.
Location: Cafe Hollander, located at 2608 N. Downer Avenue,Milwaukee
Hosted by Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin & MKEBKE

Evening Event: Milwaukee’s Future in Transit: 5:30 to 8:00pm
(Must arrive before 6:00pm)

A discussion and presentation about Milwaukee’s future in transit.
Complimentary appetizers and cash bar.
Located at Foley and Lardner LLP, 777 E. Wisconsin Ave. #40 (40th Floor of US Bank Building)
Hosted by Urban Milwaukee (Alderman Kovac, Alderman Bauman, Jeramey Jannene)

IN THE NEWS:

Speak up!  Listening SessionThursday, March 22, 2012
Wisconsin Commission on Transportation Finance and Policy
5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
1001 West St. Paul Ave., Milwaukee, Just west of the Amtrak Station
Nearby bus routes 10, 12, 23, 30, 31, 57, 80, Metro Express Blue Line

The State Legislature established this Commission as part of the 2011-13 budget to examine issues related to the future of transportation finance in Wisconsin.  The Commission’s report to the Legislature, due no later than March 1, 2013, will encompass new approaches for the next decade.

You are encouraged to attend and speak at the public listening session!
You will have 2-3 minutes to speak.  Please consider bringing your comments in writing for the Commission (11 members). If you cannot get to the session, written comments and testimony are also being accepted via email at dottfpcommission@dot.wi.gov.

Looking ahead for SE Wisconsin Transit Systems: Dedicated funding a crucial concern.
Public transit service in SE Wisconsin has been significantly reduced over the last decade, and without a change, would be expected to continue its downward path. The last State budget did significant damage to the “base” of funding for transit systems. Click here to view a SE WI Transit Update.

Regional connectivity and a sustainable, reliable, dedicated funding model for transit in Wisconsin is vital to our economic future.
This listening session is a valuable opportunity to educate the Commission and decision makers statewide about the need for robust transit options as a part of the comprehensive transportation system and a vibrant economy in the Metro Milwaukee area. Transit is essential to job access, businesses, education, personal independence, and our economic security.

Use of public transit grew in 2011, both nationally and locally. [SEE LINKS BELOW]
In particular, studies found that nearly 60 percent of transit rides are for commuting for work AND that big increases in ridership were in parts of the country that gained employment. This is the message the Commission needs to hear. As we heard from Mr. Rasmussen on March 6:  Transit benefits the entire community, including those who dont ride it.

Looking ahead, what are your priorities for the Wisconsin Transportation Fund?  Will our current transportation system meet our changing needs?
For more information about the commission visit www.dot.wisconsin.gov/about/tfp or click here for a summary.

Moving Forward Together
Coalition for Advancing Transit

IN THE NEWS

What important lessons could we glean from places that have moved ahead on transit?

You are invited to join us for a special presentation by national transit communications expert Brian Rasmussen from R&R Partners, Salt Lake City

R&R Partner’s transit communications and PR work is recognized as some of the best in the country.  In fact, R&R partners has been successful on every transit initiative they have worked on.  Hear about R&R Partner’s factors for success, and see what communications strategies have led to transit success in other metro areas.

Tuesday, March 6
12:30pm
registration and light refreshments
1:00 – 2:30pm Program
Held at Manpower International
100 Manpower Place, Milwaukee   MAP: http://bit.ly/w7kEG3
Parking is available on Cherry Street and in the Visitors Lot north of the building.  Bus routes 19, 57, 80, 143 and the new Green Line MetroExpress route all run near Manpower. Visit www.ridemcts.com to plan your trip.

Q & A and discussion to follow
Wrap up with a legislative update and review of the upcoming March 22 Milwaukee-area listening session of the Wisconsin Commission on Transportation Finance and Policy

Please RSVP to kthomas@transitnow.org or 262-246-6151 By Feb. 28

Brought to you by Transit NOW, the Coalition for Advancing Transit, and The Gateway to Milwaukee

Last week, State Senators Jessica King and Chris Larson and Assembly Representatives Sandy Pasch and Gordon Hintz introduced the Workforce Mobility Act, which seeks to invest in workers and local businesses by restoring dramatic cuts made to Wisconsin’s public transit infrastructure.  More information:  Press Release  and Read the Bill

The Legislature cut public transportation services by 10% in the 2011–2013 State budget.  Now counties and municipalities throughout the state are reducing services and/ or increasing fares and we are starting to see the impacts.   On average, nearly half of all trips made on transit in Wisconsin are for work purposes.  In Milwaukee County alone nearly 35,000 people rely on transit for work every weekday.

The Workforce Mobility Act would restore the 10% cut in funding for public transportation and help people get to work.  The Legislative Fiscal Bureau says the needed funds are available in the transportation fund.  This bill will use approximately $9.6 million of the $32.9 million balance in the fund to restore this funding.  Legislators are being asked to sign on as co-sponsors.

Action Requested – ACT BY FEBRUARY 3!

Contact your state legislators today and ask them to co-sponsor the Workforce Mobility Act – LRB 3760/1 (Senate) and LRB 3899/1 (Assembly).  Tell them why you personally support public transportation and how it impacts your life.  Ask them to contact Senator King’s office or Representative Pasch’s office to sign on by this Friday, February 3 at 12 noonFind your legislators here.

Federal Transportation bill update:  The U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the U.S. Senate Banking Committee introduced multi-year bills to address the nation’s public transportation – this is great news! This is an important effort by these legislative bodies to move forward, as investing in public transit and roads is essential to creating jobs and boosting our economy. The Committees are engaged in the bill markup process TODAY and important policy discussions are underway regarding what is included in the bill.  Learn more:

Also, Milwaukee Public Radio’s Lake Effect featured a segment recently discussing the service changes and new MetroExpress routes.  Click here to listen.

Moving Forward Together
The Coalition for Advancing Transit

Starting January 29, Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) will be implementing a series of route changes, plus the addition of 3 new MetroExpress Routes:  The Blue Line  (Fond du Lac-National), the Green Line  (Bayshore-Airport), and the Red Line  (Capitol Drive). For details on all upcoming route changes, visit the MCTS website page to access maps, the latest edition of “Bus Lines” the MCTS newsletter, and a 2012 Transit Guide.  You may also find the following links and/or files helpful:

Also, starting Monday, January 23, MCTS will have a special hotline that will be staffed to answer any questions regarding upcoming service changes. They will be available every day from 6:00am to 6:00pm for a limited time and the number is 414-937-0460.  Scroll down for article links covering both the service change, as well as the switch to a “smart card” fare system.

Other Items of Interest

The National Alliance of Public Transportation Advocates (NAPTA) has joined together with a public advocacy campaign, “Public Transportation Takes Us There” to include a number of useful resources and online tools in one website for public transportation riders, advocates and grassroots supporters of transit:

  • Contact elected officials and get the latest news from Congress
  • Promote public transit with social media
  • Build a transit coalition in your community
  • Measure the benefits of transit investment in your community

Visit www.publictransportation.org to see the new site and all the features.  To learn more about NAPTA, click here.

And, this article discusses  how demographic shifts continue to impact individual choices when it comes to transportation:  “Driving has lost its cool for young Americans”

Stay tuned for more updates as they happen!

Moving Forward Together
Coalition For Advancing Transit (CAT)

ARTICLES & INFORMATION: