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  • 18 Apr 2022 12:07 PM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)

    US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is planning a trip to Wisconsin next week.

    A release from his department says that Buttigieg will visit Coloma in Waushara County on Tuesday.

    He is expected to speak about projects that will be part of the $1.2 trillion dollar infrastructure package that was passed into law last year.

    No other details of the visit have been released.

  • 11 Apr 2022 7:02 AM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)

    Federal officials have announced more than $20 billion in transit funding for fiscal year 2022, including about $116 million for Wisconsin.

    In a media briefing, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said the national figure represents 58 percent more funding than was provided in fiscal year 2021. 

    “It also represents the largest transit funding allocation in American history,” he said yesterday. “These dollars will build, maintain and expand transit opportunities across the nation.” 

    According to a funding breakdown from the White House, the Milwaukee area is getting over $32 million, while Madison is getting over $12 million, Appleton is getting just under $4 million, Green Bay is getting over $3 million and Kenosha is getting about $123,000. 

    Meanwhile, the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, which includes part of Wisconsin, is getting over $116 million, the fact sheet shows. And the Round Lake Beach-McHenry-Grayslake area, covering parts of Illinois and Wisconsin, is getting nearly $17 million. 

    A release from the U.S. Department of Transportation says the funding increases authorized under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will support transit agencies purchasing new buses and railcars, addressing repair backlogs, transitioning to new transportation technologies to “address the climate crisis” and modernizing their fleets. 

    “With this new funding, we can reduce congestion, we can decrease wait times for commuters ready to get home and see their kids, and of course also reduce pollution and create good-paying jobs,” Buttigieg said. 

    See the allocations for states here: 

    See the allocations by urbanized area here:

  • 7 Apr 2022 7:06 AM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)

    Right now, Racine has the most electric buses of any fleet in the state with nine. But Belle City won’t be in the lead for long.

    Madison will use $41.6 million in federal funding to buy 27 electric buses for the coming first phase of the city’s bus rapid transit system, pushing the city’s goal of an all-electric BRT (Bus Rapid Transit system) closer to reality.

    Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway and nine City Council members on Tuesday introduced a resolution to authorize a contract with New Flyer of Winnipeg, Manitoba, to purchase the initial 27 zero-emission buses and approving the next steps for the 15.5-mile first phase of the BRT project that will run roughly from East Towne Mall to West Towne Mall. A future route will run from north to south.

    The resolution calls for a base order of 27 60-foot all-electric articulated buses, which is more than half of the 46 vehicles needed to operate the upcoming BRT system. It also includes an option to add 19 more vehicles if more funding becomes available through the federal Infrastructure and Jobs Act and Small Starts grant programs.

    The contract with New Flyer includes options of either 14 additional diesel BRT buses, at a cost of $14 million, or the 19 additional electric BRT buses at a cost of $28.9 million. Either option must be selected no later than Dec. 31.

    “I am grateful to President (Joe) Biden and Secretary (Pete) Buttigieg for helping Madison move quickly to implement a fully electric BRT system,” Rhodes-Conway said in a statement. “I also want to thank Alds. Furman and Foster for being early champions of this resolution, and all alders who signed onto this important investment for the future of our transportation network, the future of our dynamic economy and the sustainability of our environment for generations to come.”

    BRT, a high-frequency, high-capacity, limited-stop service that would run on city streets and dedicated lanes with special stations, is also the backbone of the coming Metro Transit network redesign, a new vision of the entire bus system.

    With each of Metro’s current buses using approximately 5,658 gallons of diesel each year, electric buses are expected to conserve nearly a quarter-million gallons of fuel yearly, according to the mayor’s statement. With no engines, transmissions, intakes or exhaust systems, electric vehicles can also save up to $125,000 in maintenance costs per vehicle during the lifetime of the bus.

    Converting Metro’s fleet to electric is one of the most important things the city can do to address climate change. Electric buses take cars off the street and release zero emissions back into the atmosphere, with each one saving an estimated 135 metric tons of greenhouse gas annually, according to the mayor’s office.
  • 4 Apr 2022 9:32 AM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)

    The Oneida Nation is receiving a $1.47 million grant to support its public transit system.

    “The Oneida Public Transit system is a valuable asset for the Oneida Nation because it provides transportation services to a variety of tribal members and the general public,” said Carol J. Moore, transit manager for the tribe. “It connects rural community members to jobs, medical care, recreation opportunities and into a regional shopping and services area in Green Bay.”

    The tribe’s transit service area extends just beyond the borders of its 65,000-acre reservation. Its eastern border roughly follows Taylor Street in Green Bay and the western border extends to Seymour, encompassing more rural portions of the reservation.

    In 2018, the transit system completed more than 34,000 trips, Moore said. That was cut in half in 2021 because of a reduction of services and limited seating resulting from COVID-19 pandemic health guidelines.

    The nearly $1.5 million federal grant from the American Rescue Plan will assist with the operational costs of the Oneida Public Transit Program through 2029.

    “In general, operating expenses are those costs necessary to operate, maintain and manage a public transportation system,” Moore said.

    These operating costs include driver salaries, fuel, maintenance, and personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies.

    The transit system was established as a department of the Oneida Nation in 1982 and runs on a “demand response” system that provides curb-to-curb pickup service. It requires advanced scheduling by customers, which can include private individuals, public entities and nonprofits.

    Its fleet of three shuttle buses, five vans and two minivans, all of which are wheelchair accessible, can pick up passengers from their homes, medical facilities, such as the Oneida Health Center, recreational facilities and shopping areas on the reservation, such as the Walmart and Festival Foods, that lease from the tribe.

    The fare is $1.50 for adults one way and $1 for elders, children and people with disabilities. The system also includes a program of free rides for elders who need dialysis treatments three times a week.

    The grant is part of $8.3 million in funding for the state of Wisconsin and  $2.2 billion in grants nationwide for transit services.

    “Essential public transit workers have been on the front lines of the pandemic for two years, keeping our economy moving and helping Americans get where they need to go,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in a statement. “This additional funding from the American Rescue Plan is helping communities across the country keep transit workers on the job and keep their trains and buses running.”

  • 31 Mar 2022 7:10 AM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)

    Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway and nine members of the city’s Common Council have introduced a resolution authorizing a contract to buy dozens of all-electric buses for the upcoming bus rapid transit program.

    The non-competitive contract with New Flyer industries includes a base order of 27 bus rapid transit buses costing up to $41.6 million. Also included are options to buy an additional 14 diesel buses for $14 million or 19 more electric buses for $28.9 million by the end of the year.

    non-competitive selection request form included with the legislation said New Flyer is the only vendor able to provide the buses the city needs due to federal rules.

    In a news release, Rhodes-Conway’s office said money from the federal Infrastructure and Jobs Act is allowing Madison to change the bus purchase to include as many as 46 electric buses without more local funding.

    “I am grateful to President Biden and Secretary Buttigieg for helping Madison move quickly to implement a fully electric BRT system,” Rhodes-Conway said in the release. “I also want to thank Alders Furman and Foster for being early champions of this resolution, and all Alders who signed onto this important investment for the future of our transportation network, the future of our dynamic economy and the sustainability of our environment for generations to come.”

    The release estimates the switch to electric buses could save nearly 250,000 gallons of diesel gasoline every year and $125,000 in maintenance costs over the lifetime of each bus.

  • 28 Mar 2022 7:13 AM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)

    The Greater Madison MPO is finishing up work on the Connect Greater Madison: Regional Transportation Plan 2050 (RTP) update, and is announcing opportunities to comment on draft plan recommendations through the plan website and upcoming virtual public meetings. The public is invited to provide comments on the draft future roadway, transit, and bicycle networks included in the plan through a new interactive comment map on the plan website that will be available until April 12th. The draft plan recommendations and supporting maps have also been posted on the website. The public is also invited to join us for the third and final round of virtual public meetings on April 7th at 5:30 P.M. or April 12th at noon to provide feedback on the draft plan goals, recommendations, and performance measures to be used to assess progress in achieving plan goals. The meetings will be recorded and will be available on our YouTube channel.

    The regional transportation system plays a significant role in quality of life in Dane County, the fastest growing county in Wisconsin. To accommodate future growth successfully, the region must have an integrated, multimodal transportation network that supports regional land use development, environmental, economic, and social equity goals.

    “The Regional Transportation Plan provides the necessary framework to ensure we make smart choices about transportation investments and policies that help us achieve our shared regional goals,” said MPO Planning Manager, Bill Schaefer. “Implementing agencies, including WisDOT and local governments, will be encouraged to use the plan goals and recommendations when undertaking planning efforts and prioritizing and implementing transportation projects to achieve the future transportation vision laid out in the plan and support the Capital Area Regional Planning Commission’s Regional Development Framework.” In addition to projects, the plan also recommends studies to develop specific improvements needed to address identified needs and issues. This includes the currently ongoing major WisDOT studies on Beltline, Interstate, and Stoughton Road.

    The RTP is updated every five years and establishes the framework for transportation in the Madison region. The planning time horizon is a minimum of twenty years, in this case 28 years out to the year 2050. The RTP defines regional goals and performance measures, and specifies the policies, strategies, and projects that will help achieve these goals. Transportation projects must be included in or consistent with the RTP to be eligible for federal funding.

    Register for one of our Public Involvement Meetings

    Now available for comment are the draft RTP recommendations and an interactive comment map including the draft future transit, bicycle, and roadway networks to be included in the RTP. The complete draft plan report will be available in early April.

    Join us on April 7th at 5:30 P.M. or April 12th at noon to learn more about this important regional transportation planning process and provide your feedback on the draft plan goals, recommendations, and performance measures. Staff will share additional information about the draft future planned transportation networks included in the interactive comment map.

    To date, the MPO has completed an extensive analysis of the existing transportation network; future transportation needs based on forecasted future travel and other local and regional transportation and land use planning efforts; and input received from the public. The recommendations featured in the plan include supporting actions for the different modes of transportation, managing travel demand and the transportation system, and recommendations for land use and transportation integration in coordination with the Capital Area Regional Planning Commission’s 2050 Regional Development Framework.

  • 24 Mar 2022 7:17 AM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)

    Madison BCycle and Madison Public Library have relaunched the Community Pass Program in conjunction with the return of BCycles to stations around Madison on March    15, 2022.

    The program, in partnership with the Madison Public Library Foundation , enables riders to use their Madison Public Library card to access one of over 350 electric bikes. 

    “Making bike share more accessible in our community is a top priority for us,” said Madison BCycle General Manager Helen Bradley. “Providing the Community Pass Program is one way we can ensure that everyone in our community has access to bike share as a transportation option.” 

    While e-bike checkouts from a BCycle station or mobile app typically require a credit card or smartphone to unlock, the Madison BCycle Community Pass Program is an alternative checkout method for riders who might have previously been unable to access bike share. 

    Library card holders can check out one of the available Madison BCycle passes from any Madison Public Library location. The passes can be checked out for up to a week at a time and provide access to over 350 electric-assist bikes at more than 50 BCycle stations. Riders also have the option to check out a helmet as needed. 

    As part of the partnership, Madison Public Library Foundation has helped make the program a reality by funding the available Madison BCycle passes.

    “This partnership with BCycle was very popular last fall,” said Executive Director of the Madison Public Library Foundation Jenni Jeffress. “Making electric bikes accessible to library card holders is another way to help provide equitable bike share access for all riders and expand library services.”

    Each of the nine Madison Public Library locations have two Community Passes available for checkout. Madison BCycle currently has stations outside of the Central Library location on West Mifflin Street and the Pinney Library on Cottage Grove Road.

    Riders can learn more about the Community Pass Program at .

    About Madison BCycle
    Since its launch in 2011, Madison BCycle has grown to include over 350 electric-assist bikes and 50 BCycle stations in and around Madison. Madison BCycle is owned and operated by BCycle LLC, delivering best-in-class bike share as a sustainable and accessible transportation alternative for cities. BCycle believes that bike share is the bicycle’s role in public transit and is on a mission to change the world by getting more people on bikes.

  • 21 Mar 2022 7:02 AM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)

    The City of Madison will receive $6.4 million to restore Madison Metro’s maintenance and administrative facility, The U.S. Department of Transportation announced Monday.

    The funds are part of more than $409 million awarded to 39 states with the passing of President Joe Biden’s infrastructure law, the DOT explained.

    The City of Madison, which is the only Wisconsin city that was awarded money, will use the funds to continue to provide reliable transportation for its citizens.

    The grants provide funds to projects to modernize and improve transit, as well as buy green technology or electric buses, explained U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

    “These grants will help people in communities large and small get to work, get to school, and access the services they need,” Buttigieg said. “Everyone deserves access to safe, reliable, clean public transportation – and thanks to the President’s historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are bringing modern buses to communities across America.”

    The department’s Federal Transit Administration received more than $2.5 billion in funding requests, which it noted where over five times the amount of funding available under the previous law.

    The Texas Department of Transportation received the highest grant award, with more than $22 million set aside for the purchase of new buses, a new transit maintenance facility and support charging infrastructure for rural transit fleets.

  • 17 Mar 2022 7:22 AM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)

    WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Metro Ride and the Wausau Area Metropolitan Planning Organization are seeking input about the future of public transit in the Wausau metropolitan area.

    The survey is part of a five-year transit plan to develop transportation strategies in the area.

    “It’s very important to get the public’s opinion. Especially for a service as important as transit is,” said Andrew Lynch, transportation planner for Marathon County and the Wausau Metropolitan Planning Organization.

    The survey is a way to figure out the wants and needs of public transportation.

    “The consultants we hired have put together a survey that’s going to kind of take the temperature and find out some of the attitudes, some of the desires of people in the metro area in regards to transit service,” said Lynch.

    The information will be used to determine the future of public transit in the area.

    “It will all be put together and help direct some recommendations, some options for either enhancing the current service or potentially expansion into other communities,” said Lynch.

    The transportation planners said the survey is a way to make your voice heard.

    “Well I can guarantee you won’t have a say in the process unless you fill out the survey,” said Lynch.

    The survey can be completed online by clicking here. Printed copies are also available at the Marathon County Public Library branches in Wausau, Rothschild, and Mosinee.

  • 14 Mar 2022 7:00 AM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)

    One sector that could benefit from the rising price of gasoline is public transit. City buses and trains have seen big dips in ridership during the pandemic. Even with some folks back in their offices, the American Public Transit Association said demand is still 62% of what it was before the pandemic, but high gas prices could help turn that around. 

    The main thing that got Peter Robison out of his car was the hundreds of dollars he spent on parking in downtown Nashville, Tennessee. Now he takes the bus. “So last year was when I really made the full switch over,” Robison said.

    With gas prices so high, he’s feeling pretty good about that decision. “I don’t want to say the word ‘smug,’ but I’m very much insulated from the rise in prices,” he said.

    Public transit could soon see more riders like Robison, according to Chandra Bhat, who studies travel behavior at the University of Texas at Austin school of engineering. 

    “When we want to try to move people from driving alone to transit use, car use disincentives tend to work better,” Bhat said. For instance, a disincentive like $4-a-gallon gas.

    A few big-city transit systems, including Washington’s Metro and San Francisco’s BART, have seen slight increases in ridership since the beginning of March. 

    Bobby Sisneros, with Albuquerque, New Mexico’s, Transit Department, said this is an opportunity to entice riders who got used to driving more during the pandemic. 

    “In the current situation that we’re in with gas prices rising, we get out and we want to remind folks that there’s ways to save money. One of those ways is to jump on our bus,” Sisneros said.

    He said the city has a fuel-purchasing contract through June, so for now, at least, it’s not paying through the nose to fuel up its buses. 

    But not everyone has the option of turning to public transit, said Yonah Freemark of the Urban Institute. “The majority of Americans live in places where transit access is really poor,” Freemark said.

    These high fuel prices won’t last forever, he said, but the issues they raise will keep coming up, “so we need to give people reliable public transportation options,” he said.

    Freemark said low-income Americans and folks living outside feel it most when transportation costs are high.

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