WIPTA State Budget Priorities
Transit Operating Assistance
Since 2011, cuts to state mass transit aids have exceeded the increases. Inflationary costs alone result in nearly 20% less funding over the same period of time. This has resulted in increased costs to local government, reduced services, and the inability for our statewide transit systems to keep up with the needs of businesses and citizens around the state. As more large industries invest in Wisconsin, the demands on our transit systems continue to grow exponentially. WIPTA appreciates the 2% increase contained in the 2019-2021 state budget. Going forward, mass transit aids must keep up with ever-increasing costs to just maintain existing services. We ask all policy makers to continue to look closely at mass transit operating assistance, the vital role transit plays in local economies and communities, and work towards greater funding in the next state biennial budget.
Statewide Transit Capital Assistance Program
WIPTA immensely appreciates state government’s work towards addressing the crisis level needs of our statewide bus fleet by allocating $52 million of the approximately $64 million in VW Settlement dollars to bus replacement. 58 buses will be replaced per the first round and as many as 40 more buses that are past their useful lives could be replaced in the latest round. The VW Settlement funds will be used up by next budget and we hope to work closely with the Legislature and Administration towards establishing dedicated funding for transit capital. Despite the huge help from the VW funds, buses and facilities will continue to age and state support going forward is still desperately needed.
Local Transportation Funding Option
WIPTA supports statutory authority that would provide local units of government, individually or collaboratively, the ability to raise revenue for transit, infrastructure, and other transportation needs, particularly via local sales tax.
WIPTA’s bus systems provide 34.7 million rides to work (48%), 16.6 million rides to school (23%),
13 million social rides (18%) and 8 million medical rides (11%).