Milwaukee Officials Carefully Proceed With Regional Transit Plans

City and county officials in Milwaukee are reviving efforts to create a regional transportation system. But officials are moving ahead cautiously to avoid the mistakes that halted similar plans in the past.

"Driving toward talks on uniting area bus systems, local leaders are trying to move slowly and steer carefully around the potholes that have blown out the tires of previous attempts to set up a regional transit authority."

"And whether they succeed could depend on how closely they listen to the conflicting demands of back-seat drivers urging them to speed up, turn right or hit the brakes."

"Setting up a regional transit system involves politically sensitive decisions on how to run it and how to pay for it. Also looming over the debate are the future of the financially troubled Milwaukee County Transit System; rival plans to spend $91.5 million in long-idle federal transit aid on express buses or streetcars; and efforts to start the KRM Commuter Link, a rail line connecting Milwaukee, the southern suburbs, Racine and Kenosha."

Full Story: Transit talks to proceed cautiously




Living in Wisconsin, and having had lived in Milwaukee, I am very familiar with the transportation networks of the Milwaukee metropolitan area. One of the main problems that faces the expansion of mass transit in the region is the question "who is going to pay for it". This question is usually brought up first, and pushed hardest by the rich suburban cities, who don't want to pay an increase in taxes. However those suburban commuters are the ones who crowd onto the highways, such as I-94 and I-43 every day to drive into downtown Milwaukee to go to work. Yet new highway projects keep getting planned for Milwaukee, and a lot of times come at the expense of Milwaukee, to benefit the suburbs. I think it is about time for Milwaukee to put its foot down, and halt highway expansion, or yet a better idea, which could pay for new mass transit projects, is to implement toll booths along the highway. Like those in neighboring Chicago. Because you never hear anyone complain about how the highway projects will be funded. Again I say let the people who commute and use the highways, pay a toll to get into downtown Milwaukee. Also Milwaukee should implement parking taxes for all of the parking ramps in downtown Milwaukee, again forcing the commuters who use the city, but never pay anything towards it, to have to shell out some money. This money would be vital in helping the poor and minorities who are over taxed to benefit the suburbs, as well as help to fund new mass transit projects in Milwaukee.

-Kyle Reppert

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