"Dark Times" for Milwaukee County Public Transit

As a part of its "Communities in Crisis" feature, the Huffington Post looks at how budget cuts are eroding Milwaukee County's public transit service, to the detriment of transit-dependent employees -- and its economy.
April 6, 2011, 6am PDT | Michael Dudley
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In 1999, Milwaukee County's public transit system was awarded an outstanding achievement award. Now, with the financial crisis having stripped the County's ability to fund its pension obligations and Governor Scott Walker set to reduce funding by 10%, the transit service is facing significant cuts, which will have a devastating impact on workers. As William Alden writes,

"bus service cuts have rendered more than 40,500 jobs inaccessible to people dependent on the bus, according to a study from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, released in 2009. In 2008, the Public Policy Forum released a study that warned of disaster for Milwaukee transit, a scenario in which service could be restricted to just the city's core. Contending with rising operating costs and little ability to pay for them, the bus system had done two things: it slashed service and stopped replacing old buses. It took its capital funds, typically used to buy new buses, and moved that money into its operating budget, using it to pay for the day-to-day costs of running the system. [Now] Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's current budget proposal calls for a 10 percent reduction in the state's annual contribution to Milwaukee County transit."

Alden interviews transit users to show how their inability to reach employment centers has shut them out of economic opportunities.

Full Story:
Published on Tuesday, April 5, 2011 in Huffington Post
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