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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 Line.www.ridemcts.com  Parking map:http://bit.ly/SzXSjp

Wednesday, May 21 – 5:00 to 6:30pm
At Gateway Technical College, Madrigrano Auditorium, 3520 – 30th Avenue
Kenosha Transit bus Rts: 1, 3, 6. http://bit.ly/1mC5lM7

SE WI Transit Systems:  http://www.yourotherwheels.com/

For more information about the Transportation Moves initiative and the Town Hall meetings: http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/about/tmw/index.htm

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 www.TransitIsGreater.com

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 www.witransitriders.org

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 www.transitridersunion.org

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: http://www.busbikewalk.org/

IN THE NEWS

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.

Details:

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

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 www.ridemcts.com 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 http://www.dot.state.wi.us/projects/state/railplan.htm

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: https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2013/proposals/sb259

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

ARTICLES & INFORMATION

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: http://legis.wisconsin.gov/

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

IMPORTANT TRANSIT FACTS:

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 www.transitnow.org

The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee is holding 4 public hearings on the Biennial Budget Bill.  These hearings provide an opportunity to testify before legislators who will make critical spending decisions on transit.   The SE Wisconsin hearing is on:

Thursday, April 4 from 10am to 6pm
At Greendale High School
, 6801 Southway, Greendale  MAP

Scroll down for more information on talking points and tips for testifying.  If you are not able to testify at the hearing, send your comments to the committee members via email, phone or mail.
Also, share this information about transit with associates and friends!

Regional Transit Initiative Policy Platform and Joint Finance Committee Contact Information

Find your State Legislator here or call 1-800-362-9472

Transit is vital to so many aspects of the economy and community of SE Wisconsin, and yet the 2013-15 state budget bill, AB40, continues the harmful 10% cut to transit funding made in the 2011-13 state budget. It also undermines the future of transit by moving transit out of the segregated transportation fund into the general fund where is will be competing with every non-transportation program.

Without a change, communities in SE WI and across the state will continue to lose essential mobility.  Milwaukee County faces a particularly devastating situation when the one-time federal funding expires in 2014 that is funding transit since the 10% cut in transit funding in the last state budget.

Implementing the following 2013-15 state budget priorities is essential to preserving transit service and protecting our ability to create and retain jobs, help train and educate our workers, and connect workers to employers in Southeast Wisconsin.

  1. Restore state transit operating aids that were cut in the 2011-13 biennial budget, to preserve vital transit services.
  2. Maintain transit funding from the segregated Transportation Fund, to provide crucial funding stability. Transit is as integral a part of the transportation system as roads and requires the same stable dedicated funding from the segregated funding source.

Tips for Testifying

  • The hearings draw a big crowd, so arrive early to register to speak.
  • Bring 20 copies of your testimony, if possible – enough copies for the committee (16) and some extras for those who are interested.
  • Be brief – remarks are generally limited to 2 – 3 minutes.
  • Begin with a clear and concise statement of our position and what you want. “I am urging you to amend the budget to include ______________.”
  • Powerful testimony is a combination of personal stories and accurate, current statistics. Speak from your heart.

ARTICLES & INFORMATION

Milwaukee needs to save its Bucks and its buses  (3/8/13) BizTimes.com BizBlog by Milwaukee County Supervisor Michael Mayo

Is Scott Walker killing of public transit? Transit’s funding is uncertain but road builders win big (3/6/13) Shepherd Express

Good Transit Policy Shouldn’t Lean Left or Right  (2/16/13) JSOnline “Purple Wisconsin” blog by Alex Runner

Scott Walker says he’ll invest $6.4 billion for transportation needs  (2/15/13) JSOnline “All Politics” blog by Don Walker

Growing Our Economy: Investing in Infrastructure  (2/14/13) Press Release on Transportation Budget by Governor Walker

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

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

In 2011, public transit advocates across the state of Wisconsin faced huge challenges in terms of preserving service and capital improvements in the face of anticipated reductions in state funding and tough local budget situations.  These included:

  • A 10% cut in state transit aid, leading to deep cuts in service for bus systems across the State.
  • All RTAs created or enabled in the 2009-11 Budget were repealed. Future RTAs will require a binding referendum for creation.
  • The transit capital bonding program for SE Wisconsin was eliminated.

However, advocates worked hard with local and state elected officials to ensure that:

  • Transit remained in the segregated transportation fund – incredibly important for maintaining state support for transit in Wisconsin.
  • Transit workers were exempted from the collective bargaining provisions in the Budget Repair Bill, which kept $48 million in federal transit aids intact for WI transit systems.
  • A new $5 million para-transit fund was created that will assist in keeping vital services in place.
  • Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) did not implement major service cuts for 2012, using funds allocated towards the now dissolved KRM project to offset the cut in state aid and keep most bus and paratransit services intact for the next 2 years.
  • MCTS also worked to streamline some routes and implement 3 new Express Service routes.

With the economy and jobs continuing to be an area of major concern, transit coalition members and partners were able to convince local elected officials that public transit is vital to our economy and this resonated statewide.  Many thanks to the community and business leaders, elected officials, and citizen advocates who worked together to effectively push back on historic attempts to sideline transit!

November 14th Transit Coalition Meeting Summary

Thanks to those who joined us and the members of the Coalition of Wisconsin Aging Groups (CWAG) for an informational meeting, “Building Aging-Friendly Communities with Transit and Why it Matters to You.”  Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett joined Nino Amato (CWAG), Anita Gulotta-Connelly (WURTA), Jeramey Jannene (UrbanMilwaukee) and Kerry Thomas (Transit Now/CAT) to discuss:

  • How important a balanced transportation system is to a thriving economy and community, particularly one that offers people choices to get around (bus, car, bike, streetcar, etc.)
  • The impact of demographic shifts – investing in public transit is both an opportunity to appeal to younger generations that are choosing not to own a car, and a way to fulfill the responsibility we have to ensure aging-friendly communities.
  • How increased poverty and the widening income gap affects people’s transportation choices and employment opportunities.
  • Continuing to focus on building our transit coalition and broaden support for the needed changes to ensure dedicated local funding for local transit.  In 2011 we saw our Coalition connect both rural and urban transit issues.
  • An overview of the changes expected in 2012 for MCTS after the County Budget was passed, including an explanation of three new express routes.

Below are links to the materials and presentations that were utilized at the meeting – feel free to share!

Lastly, MCTS offers FREE rides on New Year’s Eve, courtesy of Miller Lite.  Free rides begin at 8:00pm and run until the end of regular service, except for 13 routes, which extend service until 4:00am.  Visit the MCTS Website for details and route information.

Thanks again for another year of strong and engaged advocacy on behalf of transit and Happy New Year!

Moving Forward Together
Coalition For Advancing Transit (CAT)

November 14th Meeting Materials:

Thanks for all of your work on transit over the past months and weeks!  Although this has been a tough budget cycle, we do have some wins to celebrate.  Two weeks ago the Joint Finance Committee voted on key transportation provisions, including a very big vote to keep transit in the Transportation Fund (this is very positive news!) and the creation of a $5 million fund for para-transit over the next two years.

However, a few key items remain unresolved that could have a detrimental impact on local transit systems in WI.  Many legislators are still discussing options, which include:

  • How to reduce the 10% cut in transit aids.
  • Addressing the collective bargaining changes so that Federal funding of some $46 million in transit aid is not affected or jeopardized.

Our State Legislators need to hear loud and clear how integral keeping our transit systems intact is to a growing economy.  Now is the time to reach out and remind them of the benefits of transit and the consequences of transit cuts.  Legislators will go into caucus early next week and begin voting on the State Budget.

Take Action!  Now’s the time to show transit has strong support.

Contact one or more of these legislators by THIS Tuesday, June 14 and ask them to preserve our transit systems.  Thank them for their hard work – we kept transit in the transportation fund but we need them to go further.

TALKING POINTS:

  1. We need to restore the 10% cut in State transit aids – only $12 million (or 5%) out of the $6.4 billion Transportation fund will keep our local transit systems at the current level and able to cope with rising fuel prices, while providing essential services.
  2. We need to remove transit workers from the collective bargaining provisions so that WI does not forfeit $46 million in Federal transit funds

Or, write a Letter to the Editor – state why you think transit is so important to our State’s economy and quality of life.  Visit our Media Outreach and Facts pages for tips and talking points.

Lastly, scroll down for links to many transit-related articles, radio shows and upcoming events such as June 16 – National Dump the Pump Day.  The latest Transit Savings Report from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) shows that a two person household that downsizes to one car can save — on the average — more than $10,000 a year.

Don’t forget to contact your legislators by Tuesday, June 14!  We will keep you updated as the budget process continues.  Thank you for your hard work and support!

Moving Forward Together
The Coalition for Advancing Transit

ARTICLES & INFORMATION

Dump the Pump Day-June 16, 2011 National Dump the Pump Day encourages people to ride public transportation (instead of driving) and save money.   Riding public transit is one way to beat high gas prices.   Visit www.PublicTransportation.org to access Fuel and Carbon Savings Calculators and more…

WUWM Project Milwaukee “Southern Connection” series (June 6-10):  A series of stories discussing the benefits and drawbacks of linking Milwaukee and Chicago in a regional corridor.  Most of these stories discuss transportation, including a special forum of civic leaders, planners and business leaders.  On their page, click on “Radio Reports” and other links to learn more.

We received confirmation that the Joint Finance Committee will vote on the remaining transit provisions in the state budget THIS Thursday, May 26th.  These budget proposals, as described in our previous post, can only result in significant service cuts for transit that will cut people off from jobs and harm our economy.

At a recent 4th Street Forum, Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele and Mayor Tom Barrett discussed the detrimental impacts of the proposed state budget for the metro Milwaukee area.  As reported in this Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article, “Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele said business and academic leaders should stand together with county officials in opposing state aid cuts for the Milwaukee County Transit System.”

Let’s stand together with our elected officials and fight for transit!

Please take a few minutes to reach out and urge Joint Finance Committee members and your legislators to preserve transit – it is an important part of allowing everyone in our community to have the opportunity to work and lead productive, healthy lives!

The Joint Finance Committee can be contacted by email: BudgetComments@legis.wisconsin.gov
Contact your Assembly Representative and State Senator – find their information here.

Let them know you support transit and to:

  • Keep transit in the segregated Transportation Fund – transit IS transportation.
  • Oppose the 10% cut in State transit aids – as fuel prices increase local transit systems will be limited in making up this shortfall and still provide essential services.
  • Remove the provision that repeals existing Regional Transit Authorities (RTAs) – they do not have a fiscal impact and will help provide tools to local communities to better manage transit systems.

Visit our Facts Page for discussion points or scroll down for some links you may find helpful, in particular the Budget Papers prepared by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau.  We will keep you updated as the budget process moves along!

Moving Forward Together
The Coalition for Advancing Transit

ARTICLES & INFORMATION

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

ARTICLES & INFORMATION