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Monday, November 24, 2008

Dependable transit vital to Milwaukee’s future

An opinion piece by Michael Grebe in The Business Joournal:

As gas prices fluctuate and the economy trudges along, sustainable, dependable modes of transit will be critical to keeping our local economy from stagnating. If southeastern Wisconsin desires economic growth and prosperity for citizens, we must follow peer cities nationwide and invest in our current transit systems and new initiatives encouraging economic development in the region.

The Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) must be properly funded so it can continue to provide critical service and access to jobs and educational opportunities in this community. Routes should be restored and frequency of buses increased. Continuing to cut funding and service to this system is an added blow to the populations hardest hit by these economic times.

To complement bus service and connect local residents to nearly a million jobs in the corridor linking this region to Chicago, the proposed Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee commuter rail would expand the pool of potential jobs and employees for this region and promote economic development. Connecting with other transit options such as buses and shuttles, it would provide southeastern Wisconsin with the full-service mass transit system it needs, creating an infrastructure linking people to jobs to support economic growth in this community.

Southeastern Wisconsin is one of the few metro regions of our size that funds transit with property taxes. Recently, the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) supported removing bus transit from the property tax and enacting up to 0.5 percent sales tax to fund transit.

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