Milwaukee County BRT Project Receives Wide Ranging Support from Community Leaders, Advocates, Business Groups and Riders
County Board and Milwaukee Common Council Committees Expected to Vote on BRT This Week
MILWAUKEE – From the ACLU to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and dozens of groups and organizations in between, support for the proposed Bus Rapid Transit project in Milwaukee County is diverse and wide ranging.
The proposed 9-mile route would provide an improved transit connection to major employment and activity centers through downtown Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center, Milwaukee’s near west side, and Wauwatosa. With more frequent service and faster travel times, BRT will give riders more time to spend with their families, more time to study for a final exam, or simply more time to relax at home.
In statements and letters of support, groups are calling the BRT project crucial to the future of the region:
A recent survey revealed that 47% of African Americans living in Milwaukee do not have a driver’s license and three-fourths of the available jobs are outside of the bus lines. We will never address crime, poverty, and a simple opportunity for people of color to make a living and contribute to the tax base if they have no access to available jobs.
–African American Chamber of Commerce
New BRT service introduced into other cities increased ridership by as much as 67 percent, and could be particularly helpful to the disability community, which disproportionately does not drive or have access to a personal vehicle to get to work, school, medical appointments and other critical locations. This BRT project has the potential to remarkably improve those people’s lives.
–Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities
We see the BRT as improving the efficiency of transit travel in this corridor in the long term and ensuring more employment options are accessible to residents living along the BRT corridor.
–Menomonee Valley Partners
The East-West BRT service would advance the build out of the planned multi-modal transportation network. It would elevate a diversity of neighborhoods along the route and support the region’s top employment centers and world-class educational, cultural and entertainment destinations.
–Associated General Contractors of Greater Milwaukee
“In a community that is too often polarized over issues big and small it’s encouraging to see such wide ranging support for BRT,” said Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele. “At public input sessions and neighborhood association meetings, on campuses and in boardrooms, Milwaukee County has heard overwhelmingly from people in the Cities of Milwaukee, Wauwatosa and all around the county that Bus Rapid Transit will make our transportation system more efficient and help more people connect with jobs, workforce training and school.”
An analysis shows that in less than 20 years the BRT project will attract as many as 9,000 new riders every day and cut bus travel times on the route. The study team found the proposed BRT service would also benefit drivers by taking more than 6,100 cars off the road and reducing the amount of miles people drive by up to 17 million miles a year. Fewer cars mean less congestion on local roads, and cleaner air for everyone.
The Wauwatosa Common Council voted last month to approve the proposed route. Transportation committees of the Milwaukee County Board and Milwaukee Common Council are expected to consider the proposal at meetings this week.
If all the local legislative bodies approve the route, Milwaukee County will file for a federal grant in August. It’s expected that 80% of the cost of the route will be covered by federal money.
Groups and organizations that are formally supporting BRT
- African American Chamber of Commerce
- ACLU of Wisconsin
- Associated General Contractors of Greater Milwaukee
- Milwaukee Building & Construction Trades Council
- Disability Rights Wisconsin
- Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce
- Milwaukee Regional Medical Center
- Intergovernmental Cooperation Council
- Milwaukee Inner-City Congregations Allied for Hope (MICAH)
- Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce
- Menomonee Valley Partners
- My Choice Family Care
- Milwaukee Transit Riders Union
- TDA of Wisconsin
- Transit Services Advisory Committee of Milwaukee County
- Milwaukee Urban League
- Vision Forward
- VISIT Milwaukee
- WAM DC LLC
- Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities
- Wisconsin Department of Transportation
- WISPARK LLC
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