Chris Abele
Press Release

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

By - Jul 11th, 2016 04:57 pm
BRT Rendering. Rendering from of MCTS.

BRT Rendering. Rendering from of MCTS.

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

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One thought on “Milwaukee County BRT Project Receives Wide Ranging Support from Community Leaders, Advocates, Business Groups and Riders”

  1. MARY GLASS says:

    July 13, 2016

    Public Transportation for the city of Milwaukee population is in need of honest dialog to empower the huge ridership, the thousands of African American, other People of Color and Work Challenged (re-entry vets, ex-incarcerated, ex-retirees, disabled, homeless, and graduates with degrees but not a degreed position) that are “co-dependent” for Mobility.

    It is more than the “Who’s Who” list of elected-appointed-hired and well-connected cronies for funding and appointments in this article – As evident by the huge un- and under-EMPLOYMENT of the densely populated ridership located in the North/South corridors/routes in Milwaukee.

    Further, we would not have some of the organizations on this list part of protest groups and class-action suits starting with Karyn Rotker/ACLU, Dennis Grzezinski/Attorney at Law, Rev. Willie Brisco and members of Milwaukee Inner-City Congregations Allied for Hope (MICAH) against WisDOT and others if all was well in the city of Milwaukee when dealing with public transportation.

    This is a time of “crisis” for the families living in the North/South corridors and routes. They are trapped in social ills driven by lack of economic wealth which starts with employment. They make-up the largest ridership grossly dependent on short and long-distance public transportation – lack driver’s license, car, dependable car, and disposable income for Uber, Lyft or taxi.

    This is not a time for hyperbole by County Executive Abele who has shown where his loyalties and support lie when talking about the use of the People’s resources. Furthermore, I did not see James Macon and his members of the Amalgamated Transit Union 998 on his Who’s Who list for swaying the People,” said Mary Glass, Chief Visionary Officer, Milwaukee Professionals Association LLC.

    Several of the comments of this article speak of what it could be long-term. We have a crisis RIGHT NOW of thousands of folk devastated and immersed in Enduring Concentrated Poverty on the North/South corridor/routes.

    As far as the mix-n-match that is on the list in this article, we take issue with comments shared by those who have a vision, mission, receiving federal funding, partnerships and resources that say they support those mired in Enduring Concentrated Poverty but allow their organization to surface with platitudes signifying nothing and indicting those dependent on public transportation. It is most disturbing when we see African American professionals that should know better carrying the muddy water.

    We must call out in this article Eve Hall and members of African American Chamber of Commerce, Ralph Holman and staff of the Urban League, Donsia Strong Hill and the staff of LISC, Bob Simi and the six organizations (Children’s Hospital, Froedtert Hospital-Medical College, Medical College of Wisconsin, Blood Center, Curative Care, and Milwaukee County Behavioral Health), and Ken Yunker and staff of SEWRPC.

    We will give those listed on this list and other members of the Stakeholders Advisory Group (SAG) – Milwaukee County Insider Group for vetting the East/West Feasibility Study with oversight by Caron Kloser, consultant, HNTB – an opportunity to provide clarity here.

    The problem with the “built-in” vetting group, 29 in total, called SAG and the others on this list, they are like “hired guns” for endorsements – Letters of Recommendation, smoke-n-mirror rhetoric that has weight in the public square based on their name, who they are supposed to represent and their brand in the public square.

    But let’s be clear, that is not what time it is here. Milwaukeeans (North/South Corridor) on the merits and guidelines from the Federal Transit, Department of Transportation and US Department of Transportation are entitled to the funding designated by the signature of President Barack Obama for Transportation that is state-of-the-art public transportation rooted in need, ridership, employment, business development and carbon print.

    MPA LLC do not support the East/West Feasibility Study as the first BRT/Bus Rapid Transit for the city of Milwaukee for the reasons mentioned and so many more.

    Milwaukee Professionals Association LLC will host MPA LLC LUNCH & LEARN w/Stewart McKenzie, Federal Transit Administration, Region 5, August 4, 2016, 12-2:00pm, Grace Center, 250 E. Juneau Avenue, $25.00 per person, to address the East/West Feasibility Study, Bublr Bike and Milwaukee Street car failure to be INCLUSIVE. Do not miss this update.

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