Jeramey Jannene

Yesterday Was a Good Day for Transit in Milwaukee

By - Sep 9th, 2009 10:55 am
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Mass transit took a step forward in Milwaukee yesterday.

First, we soft-launched our Milwaukee Streetcar t-shirts.  You can buy one on our (beta) store for $15.

Second, Governor Jim Doyle held a well-attended press conference with a handful of State Senators and local politicians at the Milwaukee Intermodal Station to announce a new regional transit authority plan. The Wisconsin State Legislature will take up the bill once the fall session commences.  Doyle has published a handful of details outlining key principles.  It appears there is support from Senator’s such as John Lehman, who didn’t endorse the previous proposal Doyle put forth in his budget.

We’ll have more coverage once the actual bill emerges.

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6 thoughts on “Yesterday Was a Good Day for Transit in Milwaukee”

  1. Mike Poe says:

    To me the details on whether this will move forward on some kind of light rail for the City of Milwaukee are missing. I think this has everything to do with a train from Milwaukee to Kenosha that honestly I think no one will ride.
    Plus, it was my understanding Racine wants no part of raising a tax to pay for this.
    I want light rail as much as the next person, but I don’t think this is going that way.

    …..but I could be wrong. Thoughts?

  2. Jeramey Jannene says:

    @Mike

    You’re lumping two separate things into one. I think our article may have not made something clear enough.

    The Doyle announcement had nothing to do with a streetcar or light rail. Milwaukee has been awarded federal money (long unused funds) for a starter system. The City of Milwaukee is working through a plan to build a streetcar starter system. The County will use their share of the funds on express busing.

    The Doyle announcement is about funding the existing bus systems and the KRM commuter rail line. That’s heavy rail, not light rail or a streetcar.

    You can find more information about the KRM train on this site. http://www.sewisrta.org/

    As far as no one riding it, I think you’ll find the studies say that that is clearly not true.

  3. capper says:

    With all due respect, Doyle’s announcement was a good first step, at best.

    While the state legislature diddles around, Milwaukee County’s transit will begin to die. Tying the sales tax in with the RTA and KRM will delay the dedicated funding source that is so desperately needed now, not next year or the year after.

    Without an effective transit system in Milwaukee to shore it up, the KRM is guaranteed to fai.

    Doyle also failed to mension the EMS or the parks, both of which were included in the 1% sales tax passed by the county last year.

  4. Jeff Jordan says:

    Many of us feel that the best first step in building a sound modern regional transportation system in SE Wisconsin is the creation of a Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) with dedicated funding. Doyle has been firm on that. Witness his veto of the well intentioned but cobbled together proposal in the budget bill.
    He also mentioned that giving Milwaukee the right to impose a sales tax to pay for EMT and Parks was a separate issue and didn’t belong in the transit proposal.
    In a better world, the RTA will be running and funding an integrated bus, rail and streetcar system that will serve a prosperous community that had the will and the courage to invest in it’s infrastructure.

  5. capper says:

    The RTA will not succeed without a strong infrastructure. These further delays will either mean that Milwaukee’s transit is over, making the RTA obsolete before it starts, or that all the money will be sucked into restoring Milwaukee transit making the other counties forgo agreeing to any RTA.

  6. Dave Reid says:

    @Capper I’m pretty sure the way the RTA is configured local money will stay local. Further a Regional Transit Authority should be for, transit.

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