Transit Activists Call on Wisconsin Leaders To Reject Car-Centric Planning

With billions in new federal funding set to benefit state infrastructure projects, advocates for sustainable transportation call on state leaders to focus resources on public transit, pedestrian, and cycling improvements.

1 minute read

February 7, 2022, 6:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Wisconsin State Capital

Wollertz / Shutterstock

"The recently signed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act introduces an opportunity to rethink the structure of America’s cities. But most of the money in the infrastructure bill is designated for highway projects, even though nearly 1.2 million Wisconsinites do not drive, roughly a fifth of the population," writes Erik Pfantz in Madison Commons.  

Gregg May, transportation policy director for 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, agrees. "We have almost no state funding for walking and biking. We fund transit 10% less than we did in 2006 when adjusted for inflation and it’s created a system that is really inequitable." Meanwhile, May argues, "[The] cost of car ownership is preventing a lot of people from getting jobs and the lack of transit access is harming our economic development." May points to workers who suffer long, inconsistent commutes and employers who can't find enough workers due to a lack of reliable transportation in the region. 

Activists like May believe the City of Madison's recent efforts to address Vision Zero goals and improve its public transit infrastructure, if combined with new federal funding and investment and focused on equitable transportation for all residents and transportation modes, "could enable a serious transformation of the Madison area’s transportation system."

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