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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Milwaukee County transit faces steep cut in Walker's budget

From an article by Steve Schultze in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Gov. Scott Walker's proposed 10% cut in transit funding could mean dramatic service cuts or bus fare increases in Milwaukee and elsewhere, Milwaukee County supervisors were told Wednesday.

The cut to the Milwaukee County Transit System would be nearly $7 million, under Walker's state two-year budget plan. It would take an 8% cut in routes or a 30% increase in fares to make up for the reduction, said Kenneth Yunker, executive director of the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission.

"It's a very significant reduction in transit services or increase in fares," Yunker told the County Board's Transportation and Public Works Committee.

Milwaukee County's single adult bus fare is currently $2.25.

Lloyd Grant, managing director of the county transit system, said if the $7 million reduction was absorbed through service cuts, it would mean the loss of 100,000 hours of bus service.

Other bus and transit systems in southeast Wisconsin would face potential service cuts ranging from 6% to 10% or fare increases of up to 60%, according to a study by the planning commission.

Supervisors told Grant to prepare a plan for how the Milwaukee County Transit System would handle the cut, saying that information would be useful in lobbying legislators to slow or reverse the governor's cuts.

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