• 9 Mar 2021 11:27 AM | Ann Smith (Administrator)

    2021 Mobility Conference Virtual Event


  • 19 Feb 2021 9:58 AM | Ann Smith (Administrator)

    LOUISVILLE, Ky., Feb. 18, 2021 /CNW/ - (TSX: NFI) GO Transit (in the city of Oshkosh, Wisconsin), and Valley Transit (serving the Fox Cities in Wisconsin) are keeping riders safe with the Proactive Air and Surface Purification ("PASP") system from NFI Parts®. NFI Parts is the parts subsidiary of NFI Group Inc. ("NFI"), one of the world's leading independent bus manufacturers.

    The PASP units uses proprietary technology to create advanced purification by producing High Energy Clusters which are distributed throughout the interior of the vehicle safely sanitizing both air and surfaces, leaving behind substantially less harmful residue. It is mounted directly in passenger compartment allowing for deactivation of viruses as they are introduced into the vehicle. Virus deactivation at the source of introduction is one of the critical factors to increasing passenger and vehicle safety.

    "Our PASP system disinfects without downtime or additional cleaning during service; once it has been installed and the vehicle is running, it continuously disinfects while the vehicle is on the road," said Brian Dewsnup, President at NFI Parts. "Unlike many other technologies implemented in response to the pandemic, operating this technology while the bus is in operation is not harmful to passengers and drivers. We are proud to offer this as part of our Clean and Protect product line."

    Testing at the University of Florida confirmed the technology deactivates SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, as well as deactivating coronavirus 229E. The technology has also been tested in operation in a stationary mass transportation vehicle environment where surface bacteria levels were reduced to almost non-detectable levels and VOC (volatile organic compounds) air quality measurements were reduced by almost 96%.

    "It not only deactivates the SARS-CoV-2 virus, it is also effective on other viruses, bacteria, mold, fungus, VOCs, mildew and odors, making the experience of public transportation more comfortable and appealing," continued Mr. Dewsnup. "The bar for cleanliness has been raised over the course of the last 11 months; equipping fleets with the latest technology will assist in maintaining this new standard and restoring rider confidence that the onboard air and surfaces are cleaner with this system installed."

    Clean and Protect products each work to support the five principles of transportation safety: Distancing, Disinfecting, Air Quality, PPE and Communication. These areas can help improve the safety onboard motor coaches and are critical steps toward restoring the consumer confidence needed to restart the industry. More information on the five principles of transportation safety can be found here.

    "The safety and security of our riders and staff is our top priority," said Jim Collins, Transportation Director at the City of Oshkosh. "After completing the installation of driver barriers and hand sanitizing stations, the PASP unit was a great solution to round out our safety strategy."

    Both GO Transit and Valley Transit have maintained service schedules throughout the pandemic, providing an essential transportation option to keep their community moving. Riders can find the latest information about traveling safely on their respective social media pages: https://www.facebook.com/GOtransit/ and https://twitter.com/ValleyTransit.

    "We're extremely happy to have something installed in our fleet that is able to disinfect air and surfaces throughout the day," said Ron McDonald, General Manager at Valley Transit. "Since joining the APTA Health and Safety Commitment Program, we have remained committed to following every precaution possible to ensure our buses are safe. The unit running while buses are on the road, paired with daily cleaning crews and new driver barriers, covers all bases."

    GO Transit operates on a fixed route system in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, providing bus service to over one million passengers per year.

    Valley Transit's vision is to get people where they want to go throughout the Fox Cities in Wisconsin. They provide safe customer-focused transportation options that connect communities to enhance their quality of life. In doing so, Valley Transit provides numerous transportation options throughout a Tri-County area that covers 117 square miles with a population greater than 200,000 residents.  Click here to go to the article.

  • 15 Feb 2021 10:06 AM | JoEllen Graber (Administrator)

    MADISON - Democratic Gov. Tony Evers on Friday recommended increasing the sales tax to up to 6.5% in some areas if approved by voters — an idea Republicans who control the Legislature are unlikely to get behind.

    Under the governor's plan, counties could increase the sales tax by 0.5% and municipalities with a population of more than 30,000 could do the same. Voters would have to approve any increase in a referendum. 

    Currently, Wisconsin imposes a 5% sales tax and almost all counties impose a 0.5% sales tax. That means the sales tax is 5.5% in most parts of the state — low compared to many parts of the country.

    Evers would allow the rate to go up to 6.5% in places where voters approved the maximum increases at both the municipal and county levels. In a few spots, it could go even higher because existing law allows communities that are tourist attractions, such as Wisconsin Dells and Eagle River, to levy additional sales taxes.

    Milwaukee officials and others in local government have long pushed for a chance to increase the sales tax, arguing state aid hasn't kept pace with their expenses. Republican lawmakers have resisted the idea, saying they want to limit the state's tax burden.

    Evers announced Friday he would try to give local officials a path to raise the sales tax in their jurisdictions in the budget he will unveil on Tuesday.

    Evers said voters should be the ones to decide whether they pay more in sales taxes.

    "Our proposal puts the question back in the hands of the folks best positioned to make decisions for their community — local leaders and the people who live there," he said in a written statement.

    Republican legislative leaders did not react to Evers' plan Friday. They will spend the coming months reviewing and rewriting Evers' budget and they could easily take out his sales tax proposal during that process.

    Evers' plan received a critical response from former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, a Republican considering running against Evers in 2022. In a statement, she noted Evers at the tail end of his 2018 campaign said he wasn't planning to raise taxes

    “Tony Evers ran on no new taxes in 2018 and has completely failed on that promise every step of the way," she said in a statement. "Unfortunately Wisconsin businesses and hard-working families are the ones left to pick up the pieces in an already COVID-hit economy.”

    In addition to allowing every county to increase its sales tax, Evers' plan would give perhaps two dozen municipalities the same option for the first time. 

    Local governments have faced difficulties for years because their costs have increased faster than the aid they receive from the state, said Rob Henken, president of the nonpartisan Wisconsin Policy Forum. Local officials have few options for raising money because of tight limits on property taxes.

    "There comes a time where if you want to see service levels maintained, then something has to give," he said. "So then the key question becomes what should give?"

    Officials could consider several options, he said, such as increasing state aid to local governments, having the state take over some functions of local government, consolidating local governments or — as Evers has proposed — letting local governments raise more taxes.

    Evers’ proposal would help local governments with their budget problems and would diversify their funding base, Henken noted. It would also allow them to collect money from those who use their services but don’t live there, such as commuters and tourists, he said.

    But the sales tax is more regressive than other taxes and there’s a danger that providing more tax revenue to local governments would hurt efforts to make them more efficient, Henken said.

    Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the state's largest business lobbying group, announced it would fight Evers' plan.

    “Wisconsinites are still reeling from the worst economic downturn in a generation, and the governor’s response is to make it more expensive to purchase everyday items,” said a statement from Scott Manley, a WMC vice president. "Our state already has some of the highest tax rates in the country. Now is not the time to make our national reputation as a high-tax state even worse."

    A Milwaukee County group made up of leaders in local government, business and the broader community for more than a year has been pushing the state to allow a binding referendum to raise the county’s sales tax by one percentage point, to 1.5%.

    The revenue, which has been estimated at as much as $160 million in the first year, would be used to provide property tax relief and fund countywide priorities in the face of stagnant revenue from the state, the group says.

    Leaders in the county point to an imbalance between the ever-growing amount of tax revenue sent to the state by Milwaukee County residents and businesses each year and the stagnant share of that money that is returned.

    The effort, dubbed Move Forward MKE, was announced in September 2019 but has not gained traction in the Legislature.

    The City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County both face increasingly challenging fiscal situations, with the city in the last two years cutting positions in the Police Department through attrition.

    On Friday, members of the Move Forward coalition praised Evers’ proposal.

    “Milwaukee County and its municipalities house 60 percent of the jobs in our metro area,” Tim Sheehy, president of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, said in a statement. "In order to provide property tax relief, maintain critical services and support our infrastructure, MMAC applauds Gov. Evers for including a local option sales tax in his budget proposal. With voters approval, this could lead to a new way to move Milwaukee forward with a more balanced fiscal structure and make the investments necessary to keep metro Milwaukee a region of choice."

     County Executive David Crowley called Milwaukee County “the economic engine of the state,” saying the proposal takes a step toward ensuring that the region and state continue to grow. The investment will also help the county achieve its vision of racial equity, he said.

    Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said he appreciated Evers’ recognition that change is needed in the relationship between the state and local governments.

    “The inclusion of the proposal to increase a sales tax via referenda allows diversification in our revenue stream, at the desire of our citizens,” he said in a statement, adding that such a measure gives Milwaukee control of its own future.

    City leaders are grappling with how to address a significant anticipated increase in its annual pension contribution in 2023, which could severely damage city services. Barrett has cited changing the fiscal relationship with the state as key to resolving the looming pension problem.

    Barrett also said the sales tax would help reduce reliance on property taxes and allow local revenue to be generated from tourists and those who commute into Milwaukee for work but do not pay property taxes.

    Evers' proposal also won the backing of the League of Wisconsin Municipalities.

    “Wisconsin relies too heavily on property taxes to pay for schools, police, roads and other essential services,” said a statement from Jerry Deschane, the league's executive director. “Study after study has shown that the state needs to spread that load to a more balanced system of financing. We are grateful to Governor Evers for proposing an option for citizens to choose.”

    Contact Patrick Marley at patrick.marley@jrn.com. Follow him on Twitter at @patrickdmarley.

  • 10 Feb 2021 8:24 AM | Ann Smith (Administrator)

    Cities that have deployed Modeshift's contactless fare collection system have seen adoption rates increase by upwards of 110 percent as the pandemic drives demand for touchless options

    Today, Modeshift, a leading contactless fare collection system provider, announced significant growth in 2020 that is only picking up speed in the new year following integrations in Lancaster and Reading Pennsylvania. Since 2017, the startup has grown to offer contactless fare collection systems for use on buses, railways, e-scooters and ride-sharing services in six states and 10 countries around the world.

    The latest figures from the National Transit Database report that between February 2020 and November 2020, the number of public transit users in the United States fell by 62 percent, or 482 million rides. As a result of this, public transit agencies are facing an anticipated $23.8 billion shortfall through the end of 2021, even after the funding received through the CARES Act.

    "The need to keep passengers and staff safe while providing reliable services has never been greater for public transit authorities," said Miroslav Katsarov, CEO of Modeshift. "We’re proud that 20 cities around the world have trusted us to implement contactless fare collection systems on their public transit networks, and we hope that riders feel safer using it."

    In the first quarter of 2020, contactless transactions grew 40 percent globally, and according to American Express, 73 percent of US merchants prefer customers to use contactless payments instead of handling cash. With the demand and acceptance of contactless payments growing among consumers and merchants alike, public transit authorities have a unique opportunity to implement this technology widely, knowing it will be used and appreciated by users.

    "Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve seen a large decline in the number of public transit users across Berks and Lancaster county." Dave Kilmer, Executive Director of the South Central Transit Authority in Pennsylvania stated. "Since implementing Modeshift’s contactless fare collection system we’ve seen the adoption rate increase week over week, and now, 99 percent of our public transit users have migrated to the new system and prefer contactless payments for fares."

    With Modeshift’s technology, transit users can purchase tickets through a white label mobile application, which generates a unique QR code for each fare. Users can redeem this fare by scanning the QR code at a contactless terminal located on the public transit vehicle.

    Features of Modeshift’s Fare-Collection System include:

    Visit https://modeshift.com/ for more information.

    About Modeshift
    Modeshift, Inc. is a technology company with the mission to enable small and middle size transit agencies to provide intelligent transportation services. Our core product is Account-based Fare Collection System, based on the Microsoft Azure cloud and delivered as a service (Software as a Service – SaaS).

    Modeshift also provides other subsystems which complete the stack of hardware and software needed to operate a modern transit system such as Mobile ticketing, AVL/CAD and real-time passenger information.

    View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210209005217/en/

  • 9 Feb 2021 8:38 AM | Ann Smith (Administrator)

    Feb. 6—Metro Transit is proposing route changes that would shift almost 30% of buses from State Street, but it's largely to accommodate the coming Bus Rapid Transit system, not a first step in transforming the city's most renowned street into a pedestrian mall, officials said. 

    There long has been a desire to reduce the number of buses on State Street, especially during peak hours, and the city needs to make room for BRT, city transportation director Tom Lynch said. The coming resurfacing of West Washington Avenue provides an opportunity to create a transit lane there that allows Metro to relocate bus routes off of State Street, he said.

    Despite recently revived public conversation about taking all buses off State Street, the city is not now moving in that direction, Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said.

    "We're in the process of reshaping Metro service to prepare for Bus Rapid Transit, and to best serve our entire community," the mayor said. "These changes are part of that, and I think are a good step. However, I don't support removing Metro from State Street or (Capitol) Square entirely. Transit is an important part of our community and should be at our front doors, where it can best serve employees, customers, visitors and residents."

    Downtown Ald. Mike Verveer, 4th District, said the proposed changes will better serve residents and that he's been hearing "a widespread cry" for seriously considering making State Street a pedestrian mall.

    "I have long supported reducing the amount of traffic on State Street and trying to move to a more pedestrian-friendly concept," he said. "Every bus, especially diesel buses, we remove from State Street is progress in that direction."

    The proposed changes would affect routes 8, 12, 15, 70 and 72. The moves are part of a series of proposed route changes in several parts of the city to be considered at a Metro and city Transportation Commission online public hearing scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday.

    Already, current bus service on State Street is almost 30% less than before the COVID-19 pandemic, Lynch said. The proposed changes will reduce the number of buses by another 25-30% on a daily basis, and almost 40% during evening peaks, he said.

    Both the route changes and the West Washington Avenue lane configuration changes must be approved by the Transportation Commission, Lynch said. The route changes and resurfacing are planned for this year, he said.

    The State Street route changes were being contemplated before the recent discussions about removing all buses, he said. "This change will help implement Bus Rapid Transit and address some of the noise complaints during the evening rush hour."

    "The recent discussion of buses on State Street has been incomplete," he said. "Fire lane requirements, challenges with State Street's four existing pedestrian-only spaces, and equitable access to the Downtown are all key factors," he said.

    "Downtown, there are always complications," Verveer said. "There are a lot of issues that need to be addressed."

    Still, even a limited reduction is finding support.

    "Moving several key Metro Transit bus routes to West Washington Avenue will help create a more open and pedestrian-friendly State Street promenade, allowing visitors to better enjoy the shops, restaurants and cultural amenities on Wisconsin's main street," said Jason Ilstrup, president of Downtown Madison, Inc.

    "The move will also help ensure buses move more quickly on the Isthmus, thereby getting workers and visitors into and through Downtown with more speed, efficiency and reliability," he said. "The new routes will also better connect a densely populated section of Downtown all while improving the pedestrian and bike infrastructure and safety."

    DMI hasn't taken a formal position on removing buses from State Street, but will be starting a discussion soon, Ilstrup said, adding, "Certainly moving nearly 30% of the buses off is an important step in potentially turning State Street into a pedestrian mall."

    Metro, Verveer noted, is conducting a comprehensive review of its current route structure in the hopes to reformat the system to better serve the community, improve ridership and complement the new BRT system. The possibility of removing more buses from State Street should be part of the review, he said.


         (c)2021 The Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, Wis.)


  • 1 Feb 2021 8:47 AM | Ann Smith (Administrator)

    Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an Order imposing a mask requirement applicable to public transportation systems, rail, and van, bus and motorcoach service providers to mitigate the risk of COVID-19.  The CDC Order implements President Biden’s Executive Order 13998, Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel, “to save lives and allow all Americans, including the millions of people employed in the transportation industry, to travel and work safely.”

    Science-based measures are critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19. Mask-wearing is one of several proven life-saving measures including physical distancing, appropriate ventilation and timely testing that can reduce the transmission of COVID-19. Requiring masks will protect America’s transportation workers and passengers, help control the transmission of COVID-19, and aid in re-opening America’s economy.

    In addition to the CDC order, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) anticipates issuing additional information and guidance on this topic.

    The U.S. Department of Transportation has posted Frequently Asked Questions online and will continue to add to this site with additional information in the coming days. The Department will be scheduling stakeholder calls beginning the week of February 1, 2021.

    Please share the mask mandate information with colleagues and send questions to: TransitMaskUp@dot.gov


    US DOT Mask Requirement for Public Transportation FAQs

    Executive Order on Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel
    CDC Order: Requirement for Persons to Wear Masks While on Conveyances and at Transportation Hubs
    CDC Federal Register Notice
    COVID-19 hub
    COVID-19 FAQs

  • 18 Jan 2021 11:09 AM | Ann Smith (Administrator)

    MENASHA (WLUK) -- Two Northeast Wisconsin transit services are seeking input from riders who use Interstate 41 for travel.

    Go Transit of Oshkosh and Valley Transit are teaming up with UW-Oshkosh and East Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission to offer a survey for those who use the interstate to commute between Oshkosh and the Fox Cities.

    The purpose of the survey is to better understand the needs of riders in the Fox Valley. Both transit systems are considering new services and expand amenities for a convenient ride, according to a news release.

    “Many residents travel the I-41 corridor daily. These travelers need and want to travel between communities; therefore, it’s increasingly important we find transportation alternatives to personal automobiles,” said Jim Collins, Transportation Director for the City of Oshkosh, in the release. “There are also many residents who do not have access to or the means to procure a personal automobile. We are seeking public input in devising feasible transportation solutions that will be well received and used to help make these connections.”

    The survey, which is available until next Friday, Jan. 22, can be completed online.

  • 8 Jan 2021 7:41 AM | Ann Smith (Administrator)

    Midwestern states have been collaborating on a variety of transportation issues, from the future of vehicle technology to their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These efforts, led by the Mid America Association of Transportation Officials (MAASTO), are the topic of a special three-part series of Transportation Connects Us, the official podcast of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT).

    "While each of the 10 states in the Midwest have their own unique characteristics and challenges, at the same time there are a lot of similarities in some of the issues that we deal with," said Craig Thompson, MAASTO President and WisDOT Secretary-designee. "And for the public, transportation doesn't end at the state line. The more that we can collaborate and learn from our neighbors, the better we can serve the people of Wisconsin," he said.  Read more..,

  • 7 Jan 2021 8:40 AM | Ann Smith (Administrator)

    MADISON, Wis. - Gov. Tony Evers announced on Wednesday, Dec. 23 that 57 public and non-profit transit agencies will receive $3,799,860 in federal and state funds.

    The agencies that will receive funds provide specialized transit to seniors and individuals with disabilities. The funds will be administered by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT).


  • 28 Dec 2020 12:51 PM | JoEllen Graber (Administrator)

    WASHINGTON (December 21, 2020) – “The American Public Transportation Association (APTA), on behalf of the entire public transportation industry, urges immediate passage of the newly proposed H.R. 133, the ‘Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021’. This bill includes COVID-19 emergency relief, annual appropriations for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021, tax extenders, and many other important provisions. The bill provides $14 billion of COVID-19 emergency funding for public transit and $1 billion for Amtrak. In addition, the bill provides annual appropriations of almost $13 billion for public transit, a $47 million increase from FY 2020.

    This $14 billion of desperately needed emergency transit funding is vital to the industry’s survival and is a much-needed immediate step in bolstering an industry ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic.

    The proposed legislation is a critical step in supporting public transit agencies so that they can survive and help our communities and nation recover from the economic fallout of the pandemic. However, this legislation is just one important step. APTA and the public transportation industry will continue to advocate for additional emergency funding in the new year, with at least $32 billion needed to serve essential workers and help our communities recover.”

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