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Wisconsin Study Unpacks Transit Inequities

A new study finds that Wisconsin spends big on highways and urban transportation while rural areas face gaps in service.
November 21, 2018, 10am PST | Elana Eden
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East Troy Railroad

A new study on transportation equity in Wisconsin finds that public transit service is uneven throughout the state and underfunded overall. Authored by a coalition of non-profits, the study also notes that seniors, disabled residents, and low-income communities are most impacted by a lack of service.

In Urban Milwaukee, Mary Kate McCoy reports that one axis of the divide is rural versus urban spending: Demand for transportation options is increasing in rural areas with aging populations, but service to those areas is not. By contrast, Downtown Milwaukee recently opened a $128 million streetcar in hopes of spurring development and tourism.

But just as importantly, the report found that public transportation spending overall pales in comparison to spending on highways and auto infrastructure:

"In 2015, $1.7 billion out of the $3.1 billion transportation infrastructure spending was on state highways, the report says. At $144.5 million, state funding for public transit made up less than 5 percent of that total budget … Between 2000 and 2015, funding for new highway construction went up by 67 percent, while during the same period, local transportation funding increased by only 1 percent, according to the report."

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Published on Wednesday, November 14, 2018 in Urban Milwaukee
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