• 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)

  • 12 Jul 2021 9:27 AM | Ann Smith (Administrator)

    The association says the percentage of awards from this highly competitive program to be awarded to transit projects has decreased significantly.


    Graph illustrates an APTA analysis of the percentage of past TIGER/BUILD grants awarded to public transportation-related projects.


    The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is urging the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to refocus one of its most competitive grant programs back to its intended focus: Providing funding to critical multimodal capital investments.

    In FY21, USDOT has $1 billion available in Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grants, which originated as TIGER grants under the Obama Administration before being rebranded as BUILD grants under the Trump Administration.

    APTA has published a policy paper outlining the decline in transit-related projects awarded funds from this program and makes the case for why a greater percentage of public transit RAISE grant recipients can support the current administration’s transportation priorities.

    APTA notes the previous iterations of the grants have been awarded to projects that “not only help enhance mobility but also can result in positive safety, environmental, equity and economic benefits.”

    The policy paper states, “From FY 2009 to FY 2016, the percentage of BUILD grants awarded to public transportation-related projects was 33 percent. Conversely, over the past four years, the percentage of BUILD grants awarded to public transportation projects was less than 13 percent.”

    APTA notes the shifting priorities of the program not only resulted in transit making up a lower percentage of awarded projects but delivered significant increases to other modes. The paper highlights highway projects, which historically received an average of 35 percent of annual grant funds, but in FY20 (the most recent grant cycle), highway projects received 73 percent of the awarded funding.

    In concluding its policy paper, APTA connects the priorities of the evaluation criteria of the open round of grants with the measurable benefits of transit projects.

    USDOT will evaluate projects based on safety, environmental sustainability, quality of life, economic competitiveness, state of good repair, innovation and partnership. Additionally, USDOT said it would prioritize projects that “demonstrate improvements to racial equity, reduce impacts of climate change and create good-paying jobs.”

    In a letter to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, APTA President and CEO Paul Skoutelas pointed out the overlap in priorities as a strong reason why transit projects should see a higher percentage of RAISE grants awarded.

    “We know that every $1 invested in public transportation generates $5 in economic returns and every $1 billion invested in public transportation creates and supports approximately 50,000 jobs. In addition, a typical trip on public transit emits 55 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than driving or ridehaling alone. Finally, public transportation provides access to opportunities, including jobs, health care and education,” wrote Skoutelas. “Given the synergy of these priorities and public transportation, we are confident that projects that support critical public transportation initiatives will rate very highly under RAISE grant criteria and we urge full consideration of those project applications.”

    See Article Here
  • 29 Jun 2021 11:56 AM | Ann Smith (Administrator)

    LA CROSSE, Wis. (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden visited Wisconsin on Tuesday on a mission to drum up support for the $1.2 trillion infrastructure package hammered out by a bipartisan group of legislators but still in need of wide support in Congress to become reality.


    FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden meets with Israel's President Reuven Rivlin at the White House in Washington

    Biden went on a tour of a public transit facility in La Crosse, a city in western Wisconsin, highlighting the plan's investment of some $48.5 billion in public transit to reduce commute times and help reduce emissions, while boosting growth and wages.

    Afterward, he is to speak about local gains from the deal, including funds for electric buses, replacement of some 80,000 lead water service lines in Milwaukee and better access to high-speed internet, a White House official said.

    The bipartisan package also includes $109 billion in funding for roads, bridges and other major projects, including the 1,000 bridges rated "structurally deficient" in Wisconsin, the official said.

    Biden will also note that the plan won't hike the gas tax or raise taxes on Americans earning under $400,000 a year, the official said.

    Biden is attempting to keep up the momentum for a legislative proposal that Democratic congressional leaders believe will reach a critical stage in the second half of July.

    "I expect the last two weeks of July to be very busy weeks, when we will deal with the president's proposals on the jobs plan and the family plan, hopefully," the No. 2 House Democrat, Steny Hoyer, told reporters on Tuesday.

    House and Senate Democrats hope to have infrastructure legislation done and on its way to Biden's desk by the end of September, a Democratic aide said.

    Senate Democrats are aiming to pass bipartisan legislation and send it to the House, before breaking for an August recess.

    The Democratic president told a virtual fundraising dinner on Monday that the infrastructure package would create millions of good-paying jobs and help U.S. firms to compete in the global economy.

    "We're in a race for the 21st century, for who is going to have the strongest economy," Biden told the event, hosted by the Democratic National Committee. "And the rest of the world's not waiting around. We have more to do, and we have to move fast."

    Biden also vowed to continue fighting for additional spending that would expand child care and paid leave to more Americans and offer two years of free community college to those who qualify.

    Biden, under massive pressure from Republicans, on Saturday withdrew a threat to not sign the bipartisan bill unless it was accompanied by a separate package focused on what he calls "human infrastructure," including expanded home care for the elderly and disabled.

    Press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Monday that the White House had been in touch with Democratic leaders about the two measures but Biden had not spoken about the issue with U.S. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who wants Democrats in Congress to abandon their plan to link the two measures.

    With the Senate divided 50-50 between the two parties, a move by McConnell against the bipartisan bill could cost it the 60 votes it would need to pass under Senate rules. Democrats aim to pass the companion measure through a process called reconciliation that requires a simple majority.

    Psaki said Biden's trip to Wisconsin was intended to convince Americans about the importance of both packages. He will also travel to Michigan on Saturday.

    Wisconsin first stop on Biden's tour to sell $1.2 trln bipartisan infrastructure plan (yahoo.com)




  • 28 Jun 2021 10:02 AM | Ann Smith (Administrator)

    The conference and exposition promises to be one of the largest in-person industry events to be held in more than a year.


    Registration is open for the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) TRANSform Conference and EXPO to be held in Orlando, Fla., Nov. 7-10, 2021.

    The last iteration of the show took place in Atlanta in 2017. The triennial event has been delayed one year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The uncertainty caused by the pandemic saw the show rescheduled twice and the host city change, but APTA is embracing the adage “the show must go on” as it prepares for the event at the Orange County Convention Center.

    “We are thrilled to finally reconvene as a community, in person,” said APTA’s email notifying potential attendees of registration availability. “We can't wait to welcome you back!”

    EXPO is free to attend, but registration is required. Rates to attend the TRANSform Conference are available through the show's link.

    Sign Up Here!

  • 25 Jun 2021 9:56 AM | Ann Smith (Administrator)

    The White House says the deal represents the largest federal investment in transit and the most in Amtrak since the passenger rail service’s inception.

    The Biden Administration has given its blessing to an infrastructure deal reached by a bipartisan group of 10 U.S. senators. The deal represents a $973-billion investment over five years and $1.2 trillion over eight years in baseline and new spending.


    President Joe Biden addresses the press on June 24 following the release of the bipartisan infrastructure deal framework.

    Screenshot from White House live stream


    The framework of the deal was released by the White House June 24 and includes $579 billion in new investments. Transportation spending accounts for $312 billion, plus an additional $266 billion in other infrastructure spending, such as water, broadband and resiliency investments.

    During a press briefing to discuss the infrastructure deal, President Joe Biden noted its was a “huge day for one half of my economic agenda, the American Jobs Plan.” The plan, as outlined by the president earlier this year, originally called for transportation investments of $621 billion over eight years.

    “We’ve devoted far too much energy to competing with one another and not nearly enough energy competing with the rest of the world…Investments that we will be making as a result of this deal are long overdue,” said President Biden. “Neither side got everything they want in this deal…that’s what it means to compromise.”

    What is included in the deal is $49 billion in public transit investments, an additional $7.5 billion for school and transit fleets to transition to electric and $66 billion for passenger and freight rail investments.

    A fact sheet on the bipartisan framework from the White House stated the deal represented “the largest federal investment in public transit in history and is the largest federal investment in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak.”

    Other highlights of the framework include $20 billion for infrastructure financing, which the White House says will “create a first of its kind Infrastructure Financing Authority that will leverage billions of dollars into clean transportation and clean energy.”

    The framework also includes $47 billion for resilience investments that the White House notes will “prepare more of our infrastructure for the impacts of climate change, cyber attacks and extreme weather events.”

    According to the White House, the following options are under consideration as ways to pay for the proposed infrastructure investment:

    • Proposed Financing Sources for New Investment

    • Reduce the IRS tax gap

    • Unemployment insurance program integrity

    • Redirect unused unemployment insurance relief funds

    • Repurpose unused relief funds from 2020 emergency relief legislation

    • State and local investment in broadband infrastructure

    • Allow states to sell or purchase unused toll credits for infrastructure

    • Extend expiring customs user fees

    • Reinstate Superfund fees for chemicals

    • 5G spectrum auction proceeds

    • Extend mandatory sequester

    • Strategic petroleum reserve sale

    • Public-private partnerships, private activity bonds, direct pay bonds and asset recycling for infrastructure investment

    • Macroeconomic impact of infrastructure investment

    President Biden reiterated his pledge to pay for the infrastructure deal without raising taxes on earners making less than $400,000 per year.

    During a press briefing on the infrastructure deal, President Biden noted there was “plenty of work ahead to bring this [deal] home” but added “the American people can be proud today.”

    The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) commended the effort to produce the deal and APTA President and CEO Paul Skoutelas issued the following statement:

    “Our nation demands forward-looking infrastructure investment that modernizes public transit and passenger rail systems and meets the growing and evolving mobility demands of communities. We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to help our communities meet growing mobility demands, create family-wage jobs, expand U.S. manufacturing and supply chains, and grow the economy.

    “While optimistic about the proposed bipartisan framework, APTA reiterates its strong support for H.R. 3684, the INVEST in America Act, which will put American infrastructure on a footing to compete with any country in the world. APTA strongly supports the bill and its critical investments for surface transportation infrastructure, including $109 billion for public transportation and $95 billion for commuter rail, Amtrak and other high-performance rail. The INVEST Act will put the country on a path to increase access to opportunities for all Americans and build more equitable communities, while also addressing the environmental and sustainability challenges facing our communities, nation, and the world.

    “The time is now to make transformational investment in our national infrastructure that will provide staying power to drive our economy for years to come.”

    Read More Here

  • 15 Jun 2021 2:35 PM | Ann Smith (Administrator)

    The nine-mile corridor will connect employment and education centers and is expected to boost transit ridership by 17 percent when it opens in 2022.

    Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) held a groundbreaking ceremony June 10 on the state’s first bus rapid transit line, the East-West Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project. When it opens in 2022, the line will connect employment, education and recreation centers along a nine-mile corridor.

    The project is funded in part through the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Capital Investment Grants (CIG) program. In December, FTA and MCTS finalized a $40.9-million Small Starts Grant Agreement for the $55.05-million project.

    “I often talk about connecting the dots and that’s exactly what this project is all about,” Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers told attendees at the groundbreaking ceremony. “The BRT will make it easier to get around while providing a more sustainable project for all of us and it’s going to boost the local economy and that’s the most important thing now – to bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic – strong infrastructure, robust transportation and transit systems are absolutely vital to that goal.”

    MCTS says the BRT route will operate primarily along Wisconsin Avenue, Bluemound Road and a portion of 92nd Street. Ultra-modern battery-electric buses will serve 33 individual, state-of-the-art stations located between Milwaukee’s lakefront and the Watertown Plank Road Park & Ride lot.

    In March, MCTS awarded a contract to Nova Bus to provide 15 LFSE+ buses. The first 11 of these vehicles will run exclusively on the East-West BRT line with four additional vehicles joining regular routes.

    HNTB has been working on the project since 2015 and now provides construction management on the project.HNTB has been working on the project since 2015 and now provides construction management on the project.HNTBHNTB has been working on the project since 2015, first through the feasibility study, then through preliminary and final design. The firm will now provide the project with construction management.

    “Breaking ground on the East-West BRT line is an important milestone in transit for Milwaukee County and the state of Wisconsin,” said Ashley Booth, PE, HNTB Wisconsin office leader. “The route will enhance transit access along the region’s most vital, most traveled and most congested east-west corridor, and will play a critical role in advancing the region’s multimodal transportation system in a cost-effective, inclusive and equitable manner that will support economic development and access to jobs.”

    HNTB says the East-West BRT line will average more than 9,500 weekday riders by 2035 and increase overall transit ridership in the corridor by 17 percent.

    Construction is expected to begin in June and last two seasons, with revenue service expected to begin in fall 2022.

    https://www.masstransitmag.com/bus/infrastructure/article/21226759/mcts-breaks-ground-on-wisconsins-first-brt-line

  • 11 Jun 2021 6:34 AM | Ann Smith (Administrator)

    REGISTER TODAY 

    Deadline for registration: June 18th 

    Don't miss this great opportunity to reconnect with friends and colleagues while supporting our bus operators. 

    This year's event will feature training for wheelchair securement, large and small bus competitions and an Awards Banquet. 

    After a tough year, we're looking forward to reconnecting and providing important safety training.

    Come support our bus operators who have worked so hard this year!  

    Check out our web site for all the information you need.

    If you have already registered, but have not filled out the needed forms, you can access them on the web site.  

    Forms for judges and drivers, as well as the schedule for the event and information on the hotel room block, are all available on the MPTA web site

     

    The Annual Bus Roadeo brings folks together to support bus operators and improve safety.

     

    Thanks to the Office of Transit and Active Transportation at MnDOT for sponsoring the event along with our industry partners!


  • 11 Jun 2021 6:29 AM | Ann Smith (Administrator)

    Thursday, June 24, 2021
    2 pm – 3:30 pm ET

    Join CALSTART and key transit industry stakeholders across transit for the next ZEB working group meeting of 2021 as we come together to discuss the following key topic areas:

    • Climate and Vehicle Efficiency: Does this affect my technology choices?
    • Extreme Climate Use Cases: Speakers from extreme climate areas discuss their lessons learned
    • On-Going Discussion: The Continued Pathway to Zero-Emission Buses

    Why should I participate?

    Be a part of the solution as we work together on your fleet sustainability planning for transit agencies of all sizes and regardless of where you are in the process. We are charging ahead together to make zero-emission transportation the answer and not the question. Come and join the conversation. You will not want to miss this!

    Register in advance for this meeting:

      https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJcqc-ygqTosGtFjRY2KLLtPCRYqSXGAjB4m 

    After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

    This is an ongoing series. The next MW ZEB Working Group meeting is planned for August 5, 2021. 

    Please note this meeting is primarily for transit agencies, utilities and OEMs.

    An activity of the Midwest Zero-Emissions Bus (ZEB) Working Group and part of a series of discussions designed to tackle the challenges and harness the benefits of transitioning to zero-emission buses in the Midwest. This event is open to all transit agencies and utilities as we work together to

    transform transportation for good.

    A picture containing text Description automatically generated


  • 10 Jun 2021 11:32 AM | Ann Smith (Administrator)

    By: Alice Reid

    Posted at 10:03 AM, Jun 08, 2021

    and last updated 10:03 AM, Jun 08, 2021

    BROWN COUNTY (NBC 26) — Brown County officials have launched a mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinic that's hosted on a city bus.

    Brown County Public Health announced Tuesday it's part of an effort to make COVID-19 vaccines more accessible for everyone in Brown County.

    Health officials said the Wisconsin Humane Society-Green Bay Campus hosted the first mobile clinic event on Monday and Brown County Public Health was able to execute a soft launch of the clinic.

    The mobile vaccine clinic is available to those wanting to host a COVID-19 vaccination event within Brown County Public Health’s jurisdiction. Learn how to register for a mobile vaccine clinic and find more information about the bus at www.stayhealthybc.com.

    This comes through a coordinated effort by Brown County Public Health, Prevea Health, Bellin Health, N.E.W. Community Clinic, Aurora BayCare Medical Center and Green Bay Metro Public Transportation.

    https://www.nbc26.com/news/coronavirus/brown-county-covid-19-vaccine-clinic-hosted-on-a-city-bus


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