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  • 16 Sep 2021 2:28 PM | Ann Smith (Administrator)

    American Public Transportation Association logo.


    Washington, D.C. (September 9, 2021) – Released today, the American Public Transportation Association’s annual Public Transportation Fact Book contains national aggregate statistical data covering all aspects of the public transit industry in the United States and Canada. Major sections in the new report include an overview of U.S. transit facts, transit finances and operating statistics by modes of travel, transit vehicle characteristics and deliveries, federal grants and the Federal Transit Act, and statistical trends of Canadian transit operations.

    Highlights from this year’s Fact Book include:

    • Long-term investment in public transit supports 50,000 jobs and $382 million in tax revenue per $1 billion invested
    • 87% of trips on transit directly benefit the local economy
    • 6.0 billion gallons of gas saved each year by using public transportation
    • 84% less CO2 emissions by using the subway rather than a car
    • The public transportation industry is a leader in clean technology, with the share of hybrid electric buses jumping from 7.0% in 2010 to 18.8% in 2020
    • Cities with more than 40 annual public transit trips per person have one-half the traffic fatality rate of those with fewer than 20 trips per person

    “As the information in our annual Fact Book shows, investing in public transit will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality and public health, and help transform our nation’s transportation network for a sustainable future. Public transportation creates access to opportunities, including jobs, health care, and education, which can help our communities address the equity challenges that they face,” said APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas. “The entire industry will continue working with Congress and the Administration to capitalize on this opportunity to provide the public transportation investments necessary to address our nation’s climate and equity challenges and build back better.”

    To view the full document and related resources, please visit APTA’s Public Transportation Fact Book page.

    ###

    The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is a nonprofit international association of 1,500 public- and private-sector organizations which represent a $80 billion industry that directly employs 448,000 people and supports millions of private sector jobs. APTA members are engaged in the areas of bus, paratransit, light rail, commuter rail, subways, waterborne services, and intercity and high-speed passenger rail. This includes: transit systems; planning, design, construction, and finance firms; product and service providers; academic institutions; transit associations and state departments of transportation. APTA is the only association in North America that represents all modes of public transportation. APTA members serve the public interest by providing safe, efficient and economical transit services and products.


    https://www.apta.com/news-publications/press-releases/releases/american-public-transportation-association-releases-annual-fact-book/

  • 9 Sep 2021 1:02 PM | Ann Smith (Administrator)

    The Oshkosh Plan Commission approved building plans for GO Transit to make updates to its downtown transit center, 110 . Pearl Ave., shown here on Tuesday. WM. Glasheen/USA Today Network - Wisconsin


    OSHKOSH – GO Transit's downtown facility has needed major upgrades for awhile; the COVID-19 pandemic made that obvious, but it also provided a silver lining, officials said.

    "The pandemic made it more apparent that we needed to do it (make upgrades) sooner rather than later," said Jim Collins, the city's transportation director. "It also provided the funding to do it."

    With Plan Commission's 9-0 approval Tuesday of the facility's building plan review and funding from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Recovery and Economic Security Act, the transit system can begin to move forward with basic updates. 

    For the general public, the updates may not seem like much. But for transit staff, including drivers, Collins thinks the changes to the existing facility will be welcome. The pandemic highlighted the need for swift communication, which Collins said will improve though the addition of a supervisor's office on-site instead of at the transit office at 926 Dempsey Trail.

    "It's much easier to get those messages out when we have a presence downtown," Collins said. 

    The office will be an addition to the facility's current mechanical building, Collins said. That area will also see a new break room for bus drivers in the employees' "comfort station," which is currently just two single-stall restrooms.

    Lighting and video surveillance upgrades will increase safety, and updated and repainted pavement, along with improved landscaping and signs, also will improve accessibility, Collins said.

    "We'll be taking care of cracked pavement, less tripping hazards," he said. "We're going to clean it up, make it look better."

    Plans also call for a small customer service window where riders could also purchase transport passes. However, Collins said that will only be staffed limited hours. Riders also may buy bus passes at the Dempsey Trail office, various "pass outlets," including the Oshkosh Public Library and Festival Foods, or on the GO Transit mobile app.

    In response to a question about public restrooms not being included, Collins said public safety officials recommended not having them unless in an open space that could be staffed whenever the center is open. He said that was not possible at this time.

    However, he hopes this is the beginning of transit upgrades. Staff conducted a feasibility study for a new transit center in 2019 and determined expanding the current facility is the most viable option.

    The city does not have the money for more upgrades, and Collins said it would also have to acquire more property. He said the department will continue applying for federal grants for that project.

    Plans for the transit center upgrades now move to the full city council, which meets Tuesday. 

    Contact Katy Macek at kmacek@thenorthwestern.com or 920-426-6658. Follow her on Twitter @KatherineMacek.


    https://www.thenorthwestern.com/story/news/local/oshkosh/2021/09/08/oshkoshs-go-transit-eyes-upgrades-downtown-center-using-cares-act-funds/5718268001/

  • 26 Aug 2021 11:38 AM | Ann Smith (Administrator)
     

    Greater Madison Metropolitan Planning Organization

    A screenshot of the interactive map of the Transportation Improvement Program.

    Dane County is growing faster than any other county in Wisconsin, so its transportation network has to change to accommodate demands. Transportation planners have released a map for residents to provide input.

    (TNS) — Madison-area planners are looking for input on the region's transportation network.

    As part of an update to the long-term transportation plan, the Greater Madison Metropolitan Planning Organization has created an interactive map where users can comment on the existing system or suggest potential improvements.

    The MPO is responsible for coordinating transportation planning in Dane County, Wisconsin's fastest-growing county. Updated every five years, the regional transportation plan provides a framework for prioritizing transportation investments to handle current demands as well as future growth.

    Planners are also grappling with how to account for social and technological shifts, such as telecommuting and autonomous vehicles, as well as ways to accommodate the county's climate action plan, which calls for a 15% reduction in vehicle-miles even as the population grows.

    Dane County gained about 117,000 residents over the past two decades. That's more than the population of Green Bay, or the equivalent of adding La Crosse and Oshkosh. By 2050, the MPO expects the county to add another 196,000 residents.

    The plan is advisory, but projects must be included in the plan to qualify for federal funding. The MPO also receives about $7 million a year in federal funds that it awards to local projects identified in the plan.

    In a public survey conducted earlier this summer, the most important issues identified were maintaining and improving existing infrastructure, expanding and improving public transit and reducing the impacts of climate change.

    Respondents overwhelmingly said they had easy access to work and other destinations by car, but more than a third rated public transit access as poor.

    The map is an opportunity to provide more granular feedback, said MPO director Bill Schaefer.

    Comments can identify gaps in the system — such as missing sidewalks — or problem areas as well as features people would like to see more of.

    Schaefer said feedback too detailed for a regional plan — such as a comment on speed limits or the need for a traffic control signal at a particular intersection — will be passed on to the local municipality, but is still valuable information.

    The map allows users to view the existing system by mode — bus, bike, pedestrian, transit and auto — and to insert comments where appropriate. Users can also draw on the map to indicate where they would like to see new features, such as bike paths.

    The map is open for comment through Oct. 3, and results will be presented this fall. A draft of the transportation plan update is expected to be released for comment in early 2022.

    ©2021 The Wisconsin State Journal, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


    https://www.govtech.com/fs/dane-county-wis-wants-feedback-with-public-transit-map

  • 20 Aug 2021 9:26 AM | Ann Smith (Administrator)

    Here's how Greendale bus routes will be affected by upcoming Milwaukee County Transit System changes. The changes will take effect Aug. 29. (Shutterstock)


    GREENDALE, WI — There will be some changes to how Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) services the Greendale area with its buses at the end of August. Route 64 will be retired and service from route 60 will take over, among other notable changes.

    The bus route shake-ups come as part of the MCTS NEXT project. Phase two happened in June. Phase three will become effective Aug. 29, according to the project's website.

    Phase three will mainly effect these bus routes in the Greendale area. Click each route for a video from MCTS further detailing the route changes:

    Route 55

    • "Service to Southridge via S. 76th Street will be removed due to low ridership. Passengers can continue to make this connection by transferring from Route 55 to the new high frequency Route 76 at S. 74th Street & Layton.," the project website said.
    • Some bus stops along this route are being removed. View the full list here.

    Route 60

    • Route 60 will replace route 64.
    • Route 60 "will provide new high frequency service from Brown Deer to National Avenue and a similar level of service from National Avenue to Southridge. Current Route 60 service on Burleigh Street will be renamed Route 66," the project's website said.
    • "The new Route 60 will replace current Route 76 service on the North end (N. 60th – S. 70th) and will replace Route 64 service on the South end (S. 60th Street)."
    • View all of the new route 60 bus stops here.

    Route 76

    • Route 67 will be retired with this new route.
    • "New Route 76 will replace current Route 67 service on N. 76th Street," the project website said. "Service on S. 76th south of Edgerton will now be served by the new Route 60."
    • "The new Route 76 (76th Street) is named for the street that it operates on (i.e. N. and S. 76th Street). It will provide new high frequency service from Brown Deer Road to Southridge. The route will also travel via a segment of 68th – 70th Street," the project website said.
    • View a list of this routes stops here.

    https://patch.com/wisconsin/greendale/greendale-bus-routes-see-changes-end-august

  • 20 Aug 2021 9:23 AM | Ann Smith (Administrator)

    Racine 9th District Alderman Trevor Jung speaks during the Racine Memorial Day Program at Graceland Cemetery, May 27, 2019.

    Andrew Rosenthal 


    RACINE — Alderman Trevor Jung of the 9th District is stepping down from his role on the City Council, but is also stepping up to a new role in the city.

    On Tuesday, it was announced that Jung, 25, will be the city’s next transit manager; he will begin at his new position on Monday, Aug. 30.

    Current Transit Manager Michael Maierle is due to retire before the end of the year. Jung plans to step down as alderman, a role he considered “the honor of my life,” and the City Council will have the opportunity to

    Since being elected in 2019 as the city’s youngest alderman since 1862 and later chairing the city’s transit commission, Jung has repeatedly advocated for transit-related projects. He’s been a cheerleader of the Biden administration’s ambitious and massive infrastructure spending plans.

    An energetic, perpetually smiling 2014 Case High School graduate, Jung was adopted from an orphanage in Russia and arrived in the United States at the age of 2, raised by a single father. Jung holds a degree in urban studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

    He said that as transit manager, one of his goals will be to bring federal and state dollars into Racine to improve the area’s viability by expanding transit options for residents to nearby economic engines like Milwaukee and Chicago.

    Among the projects he’s backed were the purchase of nine electric buses for the RYDE mass-transit system, the painting of the “Black Humanity Now” mural on Wisconsin Avenue, reviving the Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee commuter train and bringing Bird electric scooters to Racine.

    “It’s all about regional connectivity,” he said in a phone interview Tuesday.

    He has repeatedly described as Racine being “on an island” regarding how the nearest interstate to the city’s borders (Interstate 94) is four miles away.

    Jung has been a vocal member of the local Democratic Party. In April 2019, he drove from Racine to Philadelphia to witness the kickoff of Joe Biden’s presidential campaign. He was scheduled to be a delegate at the 2020 Democratic National Convention before it was derailed by the pandemic.

    In a statement, Jung said: “I look forward to continuing my public service as Transit Manager for the City of Racine. Modernizing our transportation assets and infrastructure is instrumental to the health and economic vitality of our community. Racine has the opportunity to better connect workers with jobs, reduce our carbon footprint, and attract the next generation of talent through a modernized transit system.”

    According to a news release, Jung is a member of 1000 Friends of Wisconsin and All Aboard Wisconsin. He previously was a member of the Eastern Racine County Transportation Task Force and Visioning a Greater Racine.

    In a statement, Mayor Cory Mason said: “I am excited to have Trevor become the new face of public transit in Racine. Trevor has always been an advocate for and passionate about transportation equity, sustainability, and community building. He has a proven record of improving systems and services through collaboration, public engagement, and research. And he understands that we need a modernized multimodal transportation system that is built through regional planning and with intergovernmental partnership.”

    A news release from the mayor’s office said Jung was picked following a “competitive interview process” where he “demonstrated an understanding of the challenges public transit currently faces and a vision on how to create a robust system that benefits all residents regionally.”


    https://journaltimes.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/trevor-jung-city-of-racines-new-transit-manager-is-a-familiar-face/article_28f86e4a-cc3c-58b9-ab52-b61f3f606cdc.html

  • 13 Aug 2021 2:52 PM | Ann Smith (Administrator)

    The city has made impressive strides in retaining and growing riders on its bus transit system thanks to a free fare program during the pandemic. But sustaining the policy while expanding service could be tricky in the long run.

    A queue of Richmond transit buses.

    (Karl e Steinbrenner/(GRTC Transit System)


    Like most bus riders in Richmond, Va., Joseph Danaher does not have a car.

    For him, that’s a relatively recent phenomenon. A few months ago, a driver ran a red light and t-boned Danaher’s vehicle at an intersection. He was uninjured, but his car got totaled.

    The commute to his job as server at the Jefferson Hotel in downtown Richmond suddenly became a pressing concern. The hotel is too far to walk, and he didn’t have the money for a new car, so Danaher became a regular bus rider. He picks up his ride from a stop in front of his home for the very affordable price of zero dollars. Due to a pandemic-era public health measure, the Greater Richmond Transit Company (GRTC) instituted a fare-free policy in 2020.

    “For my use, it does everything I need it to do,” says Danaher. “I mean, it’s pretty good. But I do wish it had more access to the rest of the city. There are some spots where I have to walk 30 or 40 minutes after I take the bus to get to where I’m going. It’s good for getting to work, but not so good for other things.”

    Richmond’s public transit service largely consists of the local bus routes that Danaher now relies on. While its express buses and other commuter-oriented services were swiftly hollowed out by the pandemic and the institution of mass telework, the bulk of its lines did not see the sharp decline in ridership that has challenged public transit’s fortunes in larger cities. Like many agencies, GRTC also scrapped fares in 2020 to enable better social distancing and prevent excess rider interaction with drivers.

    The agency’s pandemic policy proved a success. As of this June, Richmond’s bus routes were almost back to their 2019 ridership levels. Now the GRTC, like many smaller city public transit agencies, is grappling with what the pandemic reveals about its ridership and how it can best be served.

    “It is a real conversation: Is transit a public resource,” says Julie Timm, GRTC’s CEO. “Should it fundamentally be funded by the government? By the people who ride? By the businesses that are served by getting the workforce to their door? Ours won’t necessarily be the same answer as in other communities.”

    For Timm, the debate in Richmond about how the agency can best serve its riders isn’t settled yet by a long shot. There is the question of more commuter-oriented services, which have been thrown into doubt again by the emergent delta variant. Then there’s the heart of the system: it’s local routes with booming ridership.

    Timm sees the appeal of a permanent fare-free policy, especially considering the agency’s 2019 ridership study that showed where most of the fares were coming from. Rather than middle-income commuters, or company-paid monthly passes, most fares were from single trips or day passes paid by riders making under $25,000 a year.

    Easing financial burdens on such a constituency is obviously appealing, and would even be good for the local economy, she says. Money not spent on fares will, in most cases, instead go towards much needed groceries, health care or utilities.

    The possibility of eliminating fares is made more tempting by the fact that fare box revenue was a small part of GRTC’s budget. Pre-COVID, Timm says they operated the city’s bus network on about $55 million, with about $7 million coming from farebox recovery. Once expenses for fare collection were netted out, the actual take was closer to $5.5 million.

    Many other cities, big and small, have been considering which aspects of pandemic policy should remain in place. Permanent free fares are being considered from large agencies like Los Angeles to those of comparable size to GRTC like Raleigh, N.C. For now, in many locales, the question is not immediately pressing: as federal supports remain in place and the Delta variant rages, a continued policy that allows social distancing is the order of the day.

    Weighing the Free-Fare Tradeoffs


    But in the medium to long term, the lost revenues from fare-free transit could in theory be put to better use enhancing frequency or adding new lines. Leaving an agency without fare revenue is a good way to freeze a system in its current footprint, critics say, which means that riders like Danaher will continue to be frustrated by the extent of service.

    “The trade-offs are going to look different depending on how dependent the agency is on fare revenue,” says Steve Higashide, director of research for TransitCenter. “It is easier to have fare-free transit in a place where there’s not as much service to begin with. But if we’re really committed to expanding transit, and bringing it into many more places, then eventually the tradeoff becomes very real.”

    For Timm, the debate is far from settled. For now, she wants to keep free fares in place, in part because GRTC will be receiving more funds to increase service from the Central Virginia Transportation Authority. (This new agency is raising funds from new regional sales and gasoline taxes that were earmarked specifically for transit expansion in the area.)

    Advocates are speaking strongly in favor of continued fare-free service too.

    “I think that was a major help to [riders], when it came to keeping money in their pocket, I think that was the best thing that our regional transit system has done [during the pandemic,]” says Faith Walker, director of community engagement for RVA Rapid Transit, the state’s leading transit advocacy group.

    Timm also says the debate around a fare-free future has been softened because there is currently a ceiling on how much they can expand service anyway. The GRTC is suffering a serious bus operator shortage. But the agency is hoping to raise starting pay from $14-$15 an hour to $19 an hour to attract more drivers, so that won’t last too much longer (she hopes).

    GRTC is taking this time to explore options for how to come up with over $5 million annually to pay for fare-free rides in the future. Virginia’s state grant TRIP program, which is meant to boost transit ridership, is an option Timm is exploring, as are partnerships with big local employers.

    Timm believes that big businesses and philanthropies may be willing to contribute to keep transit free after seeing how important it was to essential workers — many of whom belong to historically marginalized demographics. (This would be one way to help ease some of the social ills that big institutions have been seeking to redress in the wake of 2020’s wave of Black Lives Matter protests.)

    “If I can find a way to fill that [$5 million hole] and still expand service, then we might be able to do this permanently,” says Timm. “We’re going to test it out and do a proof of concept for a couple of years. But if we can’t find the money to fill it, if there is no appetite for finding the funds to preserve this, then fares will come back.”

    For Danaher, the fare-free policy is a blessing. Unless he’s in a rush, he no longer uses Lyft or Uber to get around. The price differential is too great. But that doesn’t mean GRTC has converted a rider for life.

    “It’s very nice when it’s free, so I can just hoard my money to buy a new car,” says Danaher. But maybe this experience will convince him to ride the bus more often even after that happens, but only if the bus is more frequent and faster.

    “For stuff like work, I can see myself doing that,” says Danaher. “But my main issue is time. The bus takes me 30 minutes to get to work while with the car, it takes me five.”

    https://www.governing.com/now/how-did-richmond-rebuild-its-bus-ridership-numbers

  • 13 Aug 2021 1:32 PM | Ann Smith (Administrator)


    Siler

    The City of Kenosha is planning an Arbor Day commemoration for the late Norman P. Siler.

    A sugar maple tree will be planted in his honor on Monday at 10:30 a.m. at Pennoyer Park.

    Siler died on March 22, 2019, at the age of 74. He served in the United States Air Force as a weather observer in the Air Defense Command from 1965-1968. Following his service, he attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He then worked from 1970 to 1987 in a variety of positions at Chicago & Northwestern Transportation Company, including brakeman, conductor, ultrasonic rail inspector and chief operator of a track geometry measuring system.

    Siler later worked as a Kenosha Area Transit service attendant and he served on the Transit Commission from August 2017 until the time of his death.

    Siler’s Arbor Day program was delayed so his family members could travel to Wisconsin to attend the program. The public also is welcome to attend the program.

    Earlier this year, the city honored four community leaders who died in 2020 and two others who died in 2019 during Arbor Day Commemoration programs. Those honored included: Robert R. Bonn, Cynthia G. Fredericksen, Ray Forgianni, Ralph J. Tenuta, Bea Lundren and Sen. John Maurer.

    Arbor Day has been celebrated in the United States since 1872. In Wisconsin it is traditionally celebrated on the last Friday in April.

    It marks the 39th consecutive year that Kenosha has been recognized as a member of Tree City USA, through its progressive forestry policies and programs. The National Arbor Day Foundation sponsors the Tree City USA program.


    https://www.kenoshanews.com/norman-p-siler-to-be-honored-at-arbor-day-program-on-monday-at-kenosha-park/article_f81b3a59-b81e-5beb-bec1-bae35c3e7662.html

  • 5 Aug 2021 11:24 AM | Ann Smith (Administrator)


    Photo sourced from original article


    A million rides a year.

    That’s about the average for La Crosse busses, under normal circumstances — pre-pandemic, and such.

    Municipal Transit Utility (MTU) manager, Adam Lorentz said last week on La Crosse Talk PM if everything is running smoothly, busses get about 1 million rides — not riders — per year. Meaning a million times someone gets on and off the bus.

    Lorentz didn’t really answer what the ideal number would be for the city, reverting to that 1 million number being a good one. Asked what would be too many, Lorentz also didn’t have an answer — but in sort of a good way.

    “There’s never too many,” Lorentz said. “If people ride the bus, I will figure it out. That’s why I’m here. That’s what my job is. If we continue to grow, the fleet will continue to grow, as well.”

    Along with increasing and accommodating whatever the number is for those who want to ride the busses, Lorentz added he’s also trying to change the mindset of those who want to get around in the city.

    “Numbers are great, and I’ll say I have to go by the numbers,” Lorentz said. “But our mission for the future is to try to get those riders that are there because they want to ride the bus, not because they need to.”

    La Crosse has received 14 new busses in the past year and a half, Lorentz said, including two electric busses and 10 diesel busses. Two more hybrid busses are coming next year. The city has 23 total busses.

    Those two electric busses run a “full day’s service” Lorentz said and charge overnight.

    And it’s those electric busses that have local climate activists calling on leadership to do more.

    A group called the Wisconsin Health Professionals for Climate Action and local leaders discussed the importance of moving to electric vehicles.

    The group specifically called on US Congressman Ron Kind (D-La Crosse) to support the expansion of electric vehicle use.

    Lorentz joined the campaign, discussing the difficulties in changing over.

    “EV vehicles take time to get there,” Lorentz said. “They take training to operate the vehicles. But they also take equipment to charge them. And that infrastructure is such a huge piece. I think it’s really a large hurdle that some communities our size face.”

    The campaign argues electric vehicles will cut down on pollution, causing illnesses and deaths, and help reduce climate changes leading to warmer and wetter weather.

    La Crosse city council member Mark Neumann, a retired physician, said increased pollution might be responsible for disasters like the Coon Valley area floods of 2018.

    “If you have more carbon dioxide in your atmosphere you’re going to have more infrared absorbed there, you’re going to have more heat,” Newman said. “If you have more heat, you have bigger clouds, more water in those clouds and that rain just falls on our country.

    “So the source of the problem is getting away from our independence on sources of energy that increase the carbon dioxide in our atmosphere.”

    La Crosse County board chair Monica Kruse also took part in a news conference last week, calling for quick federal action.

    Ridership in the city is back to about 70% of what it was before COVID. During the pandemic, it was down to 30% — but that was somewhat by design.

    Lorentz said they only wanted people who absolutely needed to use the busses to do so, and everyone else to stay home.

    “It’s probably the only time you’ll ever quote a transit guy encouraging less ridership,” Lorentz said.

    WIZM’s Brad Williams contributed to this story.



    https://www.wizmnews.com/2021/08/03/moving-to-electric-la-crosses-mtu-pushing-to-get-back-to-1-million-rides-a-year/

  • 5 Aug 2021 11:19 AM | Ann Smith (Administrator)

    Routes 40, 43, 44, 46, 48, 49, 79 and 143 will resume service with adjusted schedules Aug. 30, the Milwaukee County Transit System said. (Courtesy of Milwaukee County Transit System)


    MILWAUKEE, WI — The Milwaukee County Transit System announced Monday that its Freeway Flyer routes would return Aug. 30 with adjusted schedules.

    Routes 40, 43, 44, 46, 48, 49, 79 and 143 were suspended in March 2020 when demand dropped because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the transit system said in a statement.

    Freeway Flyers will make fewer trips because demand isn't as high as it was pre-pandemic, the transit system said. The routes will return as businesses start to reopen in downtown Milwaukee, it added.

    Commuters were encouraged to check current online bus schedules, the transit system said.

    Federal regulations still require that passengers wear masks while riding public transportation regardless of their vaccination status, the transit system said. The Transportation Security Administration requirement supersedes any local or state mask policies, it added.



    https://patch.com/wisconsin/milwaukee/suspended-freeway-flyers-will-return-august-mcts

  • 23 Jul 2021 9:12 AM | Ann Smith (Administrator)

    Wisconsin Issues $160 Million in Transportation Aid to Local Agencies

    Gov. Tony Evers speaks at a past event. (Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News)

    Wisconsin officials recently announced the distribution of $160.2 million in financial assistance for transportation purposes to municipalities across the state.

    This funding round is the third quarterly transportation allocation local government agencies received from the state in 2021. Quarterly payments for Wisconsin cities, towns and villages are sent at the beginning of January, April, July and October.

    In April, Gov. Tony Evers and transportation leaders announced the distribution of $99.1 million in transportation aid to municipalities.

    “Support for local governments’ transportation projects keeps goods and services moving throughout Wisconsin,” said Wisconsin Department of Transportation Secretary-designee Craig Thompson. “We are committed to investing wisely and working cooperatively to build good transportation solutions that support safety, economic development and our quality of life.”

    Payments include General Transportation Aids, Connecting Highway Aids and Expressway Policing Aids for Milwaukee County.

    The General Transportation Aids program helps local governments receive state aid to offset the cost of county and municipal road construction, maintenance and traffic operations. These funds are generated by fuel taxes and vehicle registration fees collected by the state.

    The Connecting Highway Aids program assists municipalities with costs related to maintenance on roads that connect segments of the state highway system. In particular, it compensates local governments for the incremental costs of through traffic that is routed over municipal streets. WisDOT defines “connecting highways” as local streets and roads that carry state highway travel through city and village settings.

    Expressway Policing Aids help the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office with costs associated with patrolling expressways in the county.

    The funds were distributed as $156.9 million in General Transportation Aids to all local units of government, $3 million in Connecting Highway Aids to 116 eligible cities and $255,975 to Milwaukee County for Expressway Policing Aids.

    Local governments received more than $505 million in General Transportation Aids financial assistance for 2020, according to WisDOT. This figure marks a 10% increase over 2019 allocations.

    The local assistance increase is part of $465 million in new funding for transportation projects that was included in the 2019-20 state budget. Besides the 10% increase in General Transportation Aids assistance, the budget included $320 million in new funding for the State Highway Rehabilitation program and $90 million in one-time funding for the Local Roads Improvement Program.

    The State Highway Rehabilitation program funds “3R” improvements: resurfacing, reconditioning and reconstructing existing roadways and bridges. It also supports the addition of lanes and safety improvements as well as minor roadway realignments.

    The Local Roads Improvement Program, established in 1991, helps local governments with improving deteriorating county highways, town roads, and city and village streets. As a reimbursement program, the Local Roads Improvement Program pays up to 50% of total eligible costs, with local government agencies supplying the balance.



    Wisconsin Issues $160 Million in Transportation Aid to Local Agencies | Transport Topics (ttnews.com)

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