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A number of important events and activities are underway in the next 2 weeks to support transit. Read below for all the details on Wisconsin Transportation Town Hall Meetings, National Transit Action Month, Bike to Work activities, Milwaukee Streetcar social and more! And if you keep scrolling down, you’ll find links to articles and updates from the past few months.

Moving Forward Together
Coalition for Advancing Transit

It’s Bike to Work Week! From May 11-17, many communities across the state have scheduled fun events to encourage more people to consider bike commuting and to reward those that already do! Learn more at the Wisconsin Bike Federation website, and search for events near you.

Milwaukee Streetcar Update
Read the latest developments in their April newsletter, including an upcoming social on Thursday, May 15 from 5:00-6:30 p.m., a local retailer who re-located his business from the suburbs to be on the streetcar route will host a Streetcar Social. This free, casual gathering of like-minded people is the first in a series of periodic events to promote ridership, raise awareness and support businesses along the route. Learn more here>>>

Transportation Moves Wisconsin – Town Hall Meetings
Presented by WI Transportation Secretary Mark Gottlieb

These town hall meetings are unprecedented—and so is the challenge the secretary will be tackling: a $700 million budget shortfall, which will only continue to increase in the coming years. Big changes are coming. Town Hall participants can:

  • Fill out a green sheet with comments
  • Videotape a brief message (30 seconds) about why transit or paratransit are important to you. Come prepared with your message!
  • Listen to the Secretary’s remarks and ask a question.

This is an important time to speak up for transit as economic, workforce, and quality of life priorities, and urge the Secretary to support transit policies that are vital to our economy.

Meetings will be held in SE WI next week – Secretary’s presentation is at 5:30 p.m., Q&A to follow.
View this flyer for important event details and transit information.

Tuesday, May 20 – 5:00 to 6:30pm
MATC West Allis Campus, Room 117, 1200 South 71st Street
MCTS bus Rts: 23, 56, 76, Blue  Parking map:

Wednesday, May 21 – 5:00 to 6:30pm
At Gateway Technical College, Madrigrano Auditorium, 3520 – 30th Avenue
Kenosha Transit bus Rts: 1, 3, 6.

SE WI Transit Systems:

For more information about the Transportation Moves initiative and the Town Hall meetings:

May is Transit Action Month
On Tuesday, May 20th, participate in National Transit Call Congress Day

Join transit riders, workers and advocates to call for more and better public transit.  Transit supporters can let their elected officials know they support increased funding for public transit in the surface transportation bill and the impact that massive service cuts and fare increases have had in recent years. Tell them about the importance of transit to get to work, school and everywhere in between!

Find Wisconsin US Congress Members here. Link includes name, district and phone numbers for the representatives able to work directly on federal transit funding.

Learn more about Transit Action Month here or at

Wisconsin Transit Riders Alliance Meeting: Thursday, May 22 at 10:00am, Madison
In Rm. 302 of the Madison Public Library’s Central Branch 201 W. Mifflin St. (a block away from the downtown square).
Learn more about this affiliate of WURTA at

Milwaukee Transit Riders Union Meeting: Thursday, June 5 at 5pm
At Hillside Terrace Resource Center, 1452 N. 7th Street, Milwaukee
“Jobs and Justice: A forum on regional transit”
Learn more at

New website launched dedicated to car-free transportation options
Bus, bike, walk has information about getting around the state using transit (intercity and intra-city transport info and links are provided) as well as policy background and advocacy for transit, biking and walking. Check it out here:


Yes! Bike Sharing is coming this summer (UrbanMilwaukee 5/14/14)

Biking with the Mayors (UrbanMilwaukee 5/13/14)

Who Will Be Streetcar Operator? (UrbanMilwaukee 5/8/14)

City of Milwaukee expects $20M more needed for streetcar project (BusinessJournal 4/22/14)

What To Do About DOT’s $650 Million Funding Gap (WUWM 4/18/14)

More Transit Funding Needed, Fitch Ratings Warns (UrbanMilwaukee Streetsblog 4/9/14)

WisDOT secretary outlines funding crisis (BizTimes Morning Headlines 4/9/14)

Press release: New Study: Riders Want Improved Transit. Abele Offers Plan to Add Service, Asks For County Board Support  (Posted on UrbanMilwaukee 4/8/14)

County Executive Chris Abele offers sound plan on transit services (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Editorial 4/7/14)

Chris Abele renews push for outside operator of transit system (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 4/2/14)

4th Street Forum – Beyond Roads: Transportation Issues Today and Tomorrow (Aired 3/21/14)

Milwaukee’s Transit Decrease in Context: Our estimate puts 2013 as the worst year in the last 25 years of Milwaukee’s bus system (Milwaukee Magazine 3/11/14)

Milwaukee transit ridership down, bucking national trend (BizTimes 3/11/14)

Milwaukee out of step as public transit use rises nationally (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 3/10/14)

Sen. Miller: Introduces bills to improve public transit throughout Wisconsin (WisPolitics 3/7/14)

The Transit Agenda: Supporters headed to the State Capitol for “Public Transportation Day,” meeting with legislators, promoting their agenda, and handing out awards (UrbanMilwaukee 3/7/14)

Supervisors seek new bus contract bids, with county-run option in play (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 3/5/14)

Wisconsin Urban & Rural Transit Association (WURTA) 2014 Legislative Day at the Capitol (Mass Transit Magazine newsletter 3/5/14)

Greater Milwaukee Committee group wants to jump-start transit debate (BusinessJournal 2/25/14)

Our View: Legislature should allow creation of regional transit authorities (JSOnline 2/13/14)


You are invited!  Join us on Thursday, January 9th for the second series of VISION 2050 Planning in partnership with the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC). Workshops were held in each county earlier this month, but if you missed it, this is your chance to participate!

On the agenda:

  • Hear from SEWRPC staff the results of the first series of VISION 2050 workshops.
  • View a set of draft Guiding Statements about regional land use and transportation.
  • Provide your feedback on the Guiding Statements – review, rate and suggest improvements.


Thursday, January 9, 2014 from 3:30-5:00pm
Held at ManpowerGroup, 100 E. Manpower Place, Milwaukee  MAP
Refreshments will be provided.

This workshop and review of the statements will serve as a guide for how the Region should move forward and for developing “sketch” future land use and transportation scenarios—the next step in the VISION 2050 process.

Manpower is located east of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive (3rd Street), off of Cherry Street and just north of downtown Milwaukee. Parking is available on Cherry Street and in the Visitors Lot north of the building (on Cherry). Bus routes 19, 80, 57 and Green line all run nearby. Visit to plan your trip. 

Learn more & get involved:

Workforce Mobility Study released this week
The Public Policy Forum released their independent study “Getting to Work: Opportunities and obstacles to improving transit service to suburban locations.”  The study was commissioned by Transit NOW with support from Greater Milwaukee Foundation. It provides data-driven information and analysis that will hopefully lead to action steps that will meaningfully address critical workforce transportation issues.

State Rail Plan posted by WisDOT, comments accepted online through December 30. Learn more at

SB259, a bill to authorize the creation of a Regional Transit Authority in the Fox Cities, is underway. A public hearing was scheduled for today at the State Capitol. Read the bill here:

As we look back on 2013, many exciting opportunities to further transit got underway including the 2013-15 State Biennial Budget and VISION 2050 regional planning process. We look forward to continuing to inform the coalition about these and other ways to continue to show your support for transit in 2014.

Happy Holidays!

Moving Forward Together
Coalition for Advancing Transit


Milwaukee sees steep decline in driving, WISPIRG study contends (JSOnline 12/11/13)

21st century technology is the new ticket for Milwaukee County Buses (JSOnline 11/29/13)

Bill Targets Federal Transit and Bike Funding (Streetsblog, posted on Urban Milwaukee 11/20/13)

Who Will Run the County Buses?  (Urban Milwaukee 11/14/13)

Once nearly extinct, streetcar gets new life  (Associated Press 11/12/13)

The next few days are an especially important time to speak up for preserving transit.  The state budget committee will be voting on the 2013-15 transportation within the next week, possibly as early as Thursday, May 23rd.

Please call or email now to remind Joint Finance Committee members, and your own Senator and Representative, about the urgency and importance of restoring state transit funding to preserve vital transit services in 2014 and 2015.

Even if you have already emailed or called earlier, please take a few minutes now to speak up once more to preserve transit.  Sharing your personal reasons for supporting transit is very powerful – and feel free to use the facts below.

Contact information:

A contact list for the Joint Finance Committee members can be found here.  You can click the links on the document or copy and paste the addresses.  Find your own Representative and Senator here:

Request: Please restore state funding to maintain vital transit services in 2014 and 2015.  Be sure to leave your name and address.


Without a change to the current 2013-15 State Biennial Budget Bill, AB 40, the cut in state funding made in the last state budget would continue, and communities across the region and state would continue to lose transit connections.

In Milwaukee County, one-time federal funding was used to fill the gap temporarily.  That funding will expire in 2014 leaving a $7 million gap in the MCTS annual operating budget.  A loss of this magnitude can only result in very significant and harmful service cuts and/or fare increases.

Restoring state transit funding to maintain transit services is reasonable. It requires less than one half of one percent of the $6.4 billion transportation budget.

Transit is essential part of our transportation system, keeping our communities and our economy working: 

  • Keeps workers connected to their jobs and students to universities, colleges and schools.
  • Supports businesses workforce needs, and the multitude of events and tourist destinations that provide jobs and tax revenues.
  • Makes us more competitive, helping to attract businesses and the young professionals they seek, who are choosing to live in places that offer transportation options.
  • Allows our growing senior population to remain living independently and out of expensive nursing home care, the cost of which often rests on government programs, and ultimately, the taxpayers.
  • Good transit will be even more important to keeping commerce moving during the Zoo Interchange and I-94 reconstruction that will stretch over the next decade.

VIEW THE STATE BUDGET FACT SHEET HERE or see more information at

Every day it seems that the viability of our state economy is under attack through various legislative proposals designed to undermine our state transit systems.  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.

Below you will find links to media articles and radio stories that discuss the proposals we’ve seen – everything from the elimination of Regional Transit Authorities (RTAs) to the failed application for funds to upgrade the Hiawatha line to strong support from business groups like the MMAC for transit.  The State Budget process is moving quickly through the legislature’s budget committee and there are proposals in this budget that will harm transit and our economy:

  • Proposal to move Public Transportation out of the segregated Transportation Fund.  Moving transit costs to the General Fund, as proposed, would harm everyone as transit would be thrown into a competition for schools, Badger Care, Medicaid and other critical programs in a tough budget.
  • Reduce State Aid to local transit systems by 10%.  This would undermine already struggling transit systems, and local governments currently do not have the necessary tools to make up the difference.
  • The Budget Repair Bill has an unintended consequence, which would force WI to forfeit $46 million in Federal Transit Aids.  Collective bargaining for transit workers is a prerequisite for receiving these funds.  This would slash operating budgets by 30% – 50% in some communities, devastating transit systems statewide.

Also, last week, Assembly Rep. Vos introduced a measure that was passed to repeal the 4 RTAs that were created in the last State budget, including SERTA, which works on the commuter rail project.  It is important to know that last year as we worked on efforts to help support the creation of these RTAs, not one single person testified at any of the public hearings of the Finance Committee to eliminate the RTAs through the budget process.

RTAs provide the tools for a multi-modal transit system; they have broad support from businesses to educational institutions, to environmental groups to local governments to individual citizens and more.

We must send legislators a strong message of support for RTAs!  Contact your legislators, but most importantly, your Assembly Representative, and let them know you support transit and are against the elimination of RTAs and the 10% cut in state transit aid and that transit should stay in the transportation fund.  Find your legislators and tips for contacting them here.

Also, don’t forget to keep those Letters to the Editor coming!  Click here for information on how to submit one or contact us for assistance.  They will vote on this budget in June – stay tuned for updates and what you can do.

Moving Forward Together
The Coalition for Advancing Transit


Grigsby, Bernard Schaber Act to Save Federal Transit Funding
The Grigsby-Bernard Schaber Act is an amendment to AB11, the Budget Adjustment Bill, that will save $46.6 million annually in Federal transit aides.  Under the current AB11 many transit systems in Wisconsin stand to lose up to 50% of their funding.  This unintended consequence affects urban and rural transit programs across the state. Although not all transit systems will be impacted directly, the dramatic drop in the pool of transit funding would have a significant impact in many Wisconsin communities.

Transit is key to connecting people to jobs in our communities.  This amendment is important because it will preserve Wisconsin’s vital transit systems.

According to the Federal Transit Act, continued receipt of federal transit aid “requires the continuation of any collective bargaining rights that were in place when the employer started receiving federal funds.” Special Session Assembly/Senate Bill 11 strips away these employee rights, which will result in a loss of $46.6 million for transit systems throughout Wisconsin, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau.  This amendment exempts transit workers from losing bargaining rights if the municipal employer would lose federal funding.

Please contact your legislators as soon as possible.
AB 11 is scheduled for discussion and possible vote in the Assembly TODAY – Feb 22
Find your legislator here:  or call 1-800-362-9472

Journal Sentinel article: Federal transit aid gets mired in budget bill
“The measure by Gov. Scott Walker would strip most union rights away from most public employees. That could put in danger federal aid for buses because U.S. law requires that collective bargaining rights remain in place to get federal funds, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.”

Please help pass the message on to others who are fighting to save our valuable services and programs.   This long standing state-federal-local relationship should not be threatened by lack of stakeholder input or hasty legislative action.

The Coalition for Advancing Transit
Moving Forward Together

Here is an update on the transit-related issue for the Budget Repair bill (SS SB 11), which is scheduled to be voted on today or tomorrow.  Below is an article discussing how this measure could have extremely detrimental impacts on the majority of transit programs, both urban and rural, throughout Wisconsin.  This may not impact Milwaukee, Racine or Waukesha, but it will impact Kenosha and other systems – this would be a huge step backwards for the ability of local communities in Wisconsin to provide transit services.  Even Senator Alberta Darling has stated she would like to discuss/address this before voting on the bill.  

Please take a few moments to call the following legislators, as well as your own, and ask them to consider the impact on transit systems in Wisconsin before voting on the bill:

Read More:  Walker budget repair bill puts $46.6 million annually in transit aids at risk – Federal Transit Aids Get Mired in Budget Bill

Summary:  Under the Budget Repair Bill (SS SB 11) proposed by Governor Scott Walker, transit systems in Wisconsin could lose $46.6 million in federal transit aid.  The federal government is a financial partner in providing public transit services in local communities, ensuring citizen accessibility, safety and service stability.  This long time successful and efficient partnership would be greatly jeopardized or eliminated with the enactment of the budget repair bill under consideration.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported:  “The measure by Gov. Scott Walker would strip most union rights away from most public employees. That could put in danger federal aid for buses because U.S. law requires that collective bargaining rights remain in place to get federal funds, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.”

The Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau has released a briefing paper outlining the specific risks to Wisconsin communities. They found that some transit systems in Wisconsin would not be affected because they are private companies that are under contract to local municipalities, which means they would not be affected by the labor provisions in the Budget Repair Bill. However, the final result could mean a loss of $46.6 million annually in federal transit aids to Wisconsin.

Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), co-chairwoman of the Joint Finance Committee, wants to address the transit issue before the bill is voted on.  Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) said no changes will be made to the bill to would ensure transit funds are not at risk before it is voted on today.

Friends of Transit,

From today’s Journal Sentinel…Governor Walker’s proposed budget bill could have other consequences.  It could jeopardize Federal Transit funds that are absolutely critical to local transit systems throughout Wisconsin, given that local communities are not enabled to dedicate a local funding source for transit and must rely on State and Federal funding to operate their systems. 

“Walker bill could put millions in transit aid at risk “
“Wisconsin communities could lose $70 million or more in federal aid for transit systems under a bill quickly moving through the state Legislature, opponents of the bill are warning.  The measure by Gov. Scott Walker would strip most union rights away from most public employees.  That could put in danger federal aid for buses because U.S. law requires that collective bargaining rights remain in place to get federal funds, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.”

Call to tell the Senate and Assembly to vote NO on the Budget Bill and please pass this along and post!! 

You can find your State Legislators by visiting here:  or by calling 1-800-362-9472.

More to follow in the next few days…there is a lot of activity happening in this session of the State Legislature, beyond the Budget bill that could have serious affects on transit systems in Wisconsin. Stay tuned!

The next week is a critical and important one for the 2011 Milwaukee County Budget.   For those of you who live in Milwaukee County, we need your help! The proposed county budget cuts the frequency and hours of operation transit routes; the impact of these potential cuts was highlighted in this Letter to the Editor on October 9, 2010:  “More cuts for County Transit”

  • The Finance Committee will be voting on funding for on Transit/Paratransit on Wednesday October 27 (starts at 1:00 PM).  This hearing will be held at the Milwaukee County Courthouse, 901 N. 9th Street, 2nd floor, Room 203-R.
  • There will be a Public hearing on the budget on Monday, November 1st at 7 PM at the Washington Park Senior Center, 4420 W. Vliet Street, Milwaukee.
  • Advocates are needed to attend these hearings and show support for preserving our transit system.

How else can you get involved? Be sure to contact your County Supervisor and members of the Finance Committee – let them know how important it is that we maintain our transit system.

For contact information, links and talking points visit the Milwaukee County Budget Action Alert page

Other Events & Articles:

  • On Thursday, November 11 from 3:30-6:00PM the UW-Milwaukee Urban Studies department will be hosting the 5th Annual Henry W. Maier State of Milwaukee Summit.  This year’s topic will cover Public Transportation, and will feature speakers discussing the challenges that the Metro Milwaukee region has faced to develop regional transit initiatives and to adequately manage and maintain existing systems.  For details visit
  • The State of Wisconsin Department of Transportation released this following newsletter that discusses the economic benefits of the new High Speed Rail project in Wisconsin:
  • At the Milwaukee site for the, Charlie Rosenberg has been covering local transit issues and how they’ve been discussed by candidates in the upcoming election. To read these articles, visit

Lastly, the Transit Campaign Strategy Group has met and begun developing plans that outline the activities, tasks and potential resources for a broad community campaign to increase support for efforts to maintain, improve and expand our local transit systems.   Stay tuned for updates throughout the fall and winter – we will need C.A.T. members to get engaged!

Moving Forward Together
The Coalition for Advancing Transit

C.A.T. Update – September 29, 2010

Thanks to those who came to the Coalition for Advancing Transit Meeting on September 16.   It was a great discussion and we had wonderful participation from over 40 members.   The meeting included an update from Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) on the 2011 Budget and a review by Kerry Thomas of Transit Now of what has happened in transit since the spring legislative session ended.   For a full update, including Key Milestones and Lessons Learned, visit the CAT Google Groups Page here:

Moving Forward – Recommendation: Launch a Transit Campaign

The C.A.T. Steering Committee met several times over the summer to discuss where we go next given that the RTA bill did not pass in the last legislative session.  The recommendation is that the Coalition for Advancing Transit form and launch a “Transit Campaign” that will focus on increasing support in the community in a very broad way for an RTA and dedicated funding for our local transit systems.   At the meeting, we discussed a list of proposed strategies and next steps.   A Strategy Planning Session will be held in October; CAT Members are encouraged to sign up and be a part of making this happen! Contact if you are interested in joining this effort.  Otherwise, stay tuned for updates throughout the fall and winter!

To review the Transit Campaign Strategy items, visit the CAT Google Groups page here:

Recent Reports & Articles:

As we heard at the 9/16 meeting, MCTS has proposed transit service cuts to meet a 2011 budget shortfall.   The Center for Economic Development at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee released a study a couple weeks ago that showed these cuts would eliminate transit access to at least 24,350 jobs in Milwaukee County alone.   The MCTS budget proposal is the beginning of the budget process.  County Executive Scott Walker will deliver his budget proposal on September 30th at 9:30 AM for County Board approval.

The loss of critical access to jobs will be an annual fact of life in Milwaukee and other communities until a permanent dedicated source of funding is found. The easy service cuts have been made years ago.  Now we are chopping away at the very bedrock of the metropolitan transportation system – to learn more about these impacts, read the entire study (see link on the right):

WISPIRG has released a new report that shows how the Midwest High Speed rail (or Inter-City Rail network) will boost the economy in short and long term, modernize and improve transportation for Wisconsin and the Midwest.  Read more here:

Also, the Make It Work Milwaukee Coalition is hosting a Candidate Forum THIS Friday, October 1st! Hear about Issues & Ideas with Milwaukee Area Candidates for State Senate and Assembly.  It will be held from 1:00-3:00PM and will be moderated by Marcus White of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation.  Location:  IndependenceFirst, 540 South 1st Street, Milwaukee, WI 53204.  RSVP: Please contact Disability Rights Wisconsin at 414-773-4646 or

We will continue to update you as we move forward with the Transit Campaign.  Also, visit our Timelines Page for a list of key dates this fall where you can get involved in this issue! (

Moving Forward Together
The Coalition for Advancing Transit

It’s time to recharge and there is some urgency!!

Thursday, September 16th at 8:00 AM at Manpower International, Milwaukee

Eager to learn what’s happened on the regional transit front over the past 2 months? Despite the lack of success in the spring legislative session to get an RTA and dedicated funding for SE WI transit, there have been a series of announcements and activities over the summer regarding key investments that will be made in public transportation.   Now’s the time to stay engaged. Plus we still need to get dedicated funding for our local bus system – a vital infrastructure component of our local and regional economy.

This event is FREE and open to the public, so invite your friends and transit supporters!   You will hear from:

  • A representative from the Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS), who will provide an update on what 2011 will look like for the County Bus System.
  • C.A.T. Steering Committee members will provide
    • an overview of what we think happened with the State legislative session last spring,
    • what’s happened since the legislature ended their session, and
    • where we go from here  –  locally, regionally and state-wide

What we need from you: JOIN US and provide your input! We want ideas from C.A.T. members on how to increase our advocacy and campaign on a grassroots level to show more support for transit as we head towards 2011.

Check-in and Networking will begin at 7:30AM, the program will start at 8 AM and we intend to wrap up by 9 AM.  You will have the opportunity to enjoy breakfast refreshments and network with other members in the Coalition to learn what WE can all do together to move regional transit forward.

RSVP to Kristi Luzar, Program Manger at UEDA:  Phone: (414) 562-9904 or

Location Details:

Manpower International is located on 100 Manpower Place, which is East of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive (3rd Street), off of Cherry Street and just north of downtown Milwaukee.  Parking is available on Cherry Street and in the Visitors Lot north of the building (on Cherry).  Bus routes 19, 80, 57 and 15 all run near Manpower. Visit to plan your trip or call the Bus Line at (414) 344-6711 (24-hour automated) for assistance.

Also, this was announced yesterday:

Transportation project awards include KRM money – Published:  September 9 by The Daily Reporter
Gov. Jim Doyle on Thursday announced $37.5 million in Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) awards that will help 25 transportation-related projects in southeastern Wisconsin that don’t meet federal ozone requirements.  Four awards will be used to invest in public transportation, according to a release from the governor’s office.  Milwaukee County was awarded near one-quarter of the available money. Read more:  Also covered in the BizTimes:

And more coverage and an Editorial by the Journal Sentinel on the Inter City Rail line from President Obama’s visit and announcement on Labor Day:

Moving Forward Together
Coalition for Advancing Transit