• 12 May 2022 8:42 AM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)

    Friday was the last day to use Milwaukee County Transit System's old fare collection app, Ride MCTS, according to a news release from the agency.

    The transit system is now using a new app called WisGo, which is powered by Umo Mobility. The app brings a host of new features and differences from the old app. Riders will be able to purchase a 105-minute fare for $2 or a 24-hour fare for $5, according to the news release.

    Once you buy a ticket, unlike the former app, your fare will become immediately active, so MCTS advises people to only purchase fares when they're ready to board the bus. It's a temporary system until new fare validators are installed on buses, the release said.

    The new app is part of a wider part of MCTS's new fare collection system, which is expected to be fully up and running by the fall. The app introduces new ways to pay, and the news release touts that bus tracking will be improved.

    To use the new app, look up the Umo App and enter Milwaukee as your location. While the old app is now defunct, riders will still be able to use MCards and cash to pay fares.


  • 9 May 2022 7:34 AM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)

    A press release from the City of Madison announces an effort to create a “Transit-Oriented Development overlay zoning district” that would support denser development near transit hubs and help the city reduce vehicle miles driven. “As recommended by the 2018 Comprehensive Plan, this ‘TOD overlay’ would potentially create development intensity minimums, reduce parking requirements, and support transit use, among other possible tweaks to underlying zoning regulations.”

    According to District 2 Alder and Plan Commissioner Patrick Heck, “Paired with the City’s use of our Affordable Housing Fund to support projects close to transit, the TOD changes will not only make it easier to build housing, but easier to build affordable and workforce housing with transit-supported access to jobs.”

    District 15 Alder and Transportation and Policy Planning Board member Grant Foster said the goal is to accommodate regional growth while boosting housing affordability, “without the devastating impacts of increasing traffic.”


  • 5 May 2022 9:35 AM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)

    City leaders are poised to approve $5.59 million in bids from contractors to finish construction of Eau Claire's new downtown transit transfer center.

    The third set of bids in the project is up for a vote by the City Council during its Tuesday afternoon meeting.

    "This is the final one for the city," Tom Wagener, manager of Eau Claire Transit, said of the bid package.

    There are 21 different companies slated to do a portion of the work needed to complete the center, which has been under construction since fall.

    Market & Johnson, the Eau Claire firm also serving as construction manager for the project, is set to get $1.9 million to do the masonry, carpentry and providing gypsum board.

    The contractor poised to get the second-highest amount from the latest package is Design Point Exteriors of Stevens Point, which bid $971,000 to provide the metal clad walls for the building.

    Other contracts for plumbing, structural steel, weatherproofing, doors, glass, tiling, flooring, painting, fire sprinklers and elevator work are also among items in the bid package.

    These final bids are coming just a month after the City Council gave its approval to increase the construction project's budget, in part due to materials price inflation.

    "It was the last bid package so we wanted to get them out as soon as we could because prices keep going up," Wagener said.

    The project's first bid package was approved in July for $6.76 million in site work, utilities, paving and concrete, with the majority going to Market & Johnson.

    The second bid package, which was for $1.33 million in electrical work, went to NEI Electric of Eau Claire in February.

    Higher prices and increasing the city's share of the public-private project led the council to unanimously vote March 22 to increase spending on it.

    The public portion of the center was previously estimated to cost $8.9 million to build, but the council's vote grew that to $17.2 million as costs rose.

    The six-story project will have a bus transfer center on the ground floor, two levels of parking above it and then a three-level apartment building with "workforce housing" on top. As originally conceived in 2017, city and federal funds were supposed to pay for the ground floor and a level of parking with a private developer covering the rest.

    However, difficulty getting a housing developer to sign on under that arrangement led the city to expand the public share of the project last month to include the second level of parking, a large concrete slab above that for the apartments to stand on and more of the structure's infrastructure.

    After another developer had previously walked away, the city has been in talks since late last year with Rice Lake-based Impact Seven to build the workforce housing.

    Including the housing is seen as critical to the city holding onto a $5 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery it was awarded in 2018 to kick-start the transit transfer center.


  • 2 May 2022 10:48 AM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)

    The City of Racine rolled out its new fleet of electric buses on Wednesday. The city now has nine new electric buses, making it the largest electric fleet in Wisconsin.

    According to the city's transit department, 25% of Racine's bus fleet is now electrified. The City of Racine received $6,190,906 from the Wisconsin Department of Administration's Volkswagen Transit Capital Assistance Grant Program to fund the purchase of six electric buses and related infrastructure.

    Additionally, the city was awarded $3,183,723 from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Transit Authority (FTA) Low or No Emission Vehicle Program (“Low-No Program”) to buy three additional electric buses, bringing the total to nine.

    Racine was the only city in the state to receive this allocation, and one of only 41 other transit jurisdictions nationwide to receive this funding.

    Gov. Tony Evers and residents were some of the first to ride on the bus. Gov. Evers said he sees this as the future of public transportation across the state.

    “The more we can electrify our fleets and buses and individual cars, the more we will be able to say gasoline is not the be-all-end-all from us to get from point A to point B," Gov. Evers said. "This is a step in the right direction."

    Kiran Vedak has worked in Racine for nine years. He said he prefers the electric buses over diesel, because they are more quiet and better for the environment.

    “It’s a great move, good for the environment and next generations,” said Vedak.


  • 28 Apr 2022 8:25 AM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)

    Alliant Energy, the City of Madison Fleet Service, Madison Gas and Electric and Wisconsin Clean Cities are again partnering to co-host the state’s largest sustainable transportation conference and expo.

    “We’re excited to again co-host the Transportation & Innovation Expo with our partners,” Wisconsin Clean Cities Executive Director Lorrie Lisek said. “Helping fleets reduce emissions and improve their bottom line is what Wisconsin Clean Cities is all about. Whether you are just considering making a change toward low-carbon options or want to add to your sustainable fleet, our conference and expo will provide you with the tools needed to move your plans into action.”

    The Transportation & Innovation Expo will take place on April 28 at the Exhibition Hall at the Alliant Energy Center, 1919 Alliant Energy Center Way in Madison.

    “Alliant Energy strives to be a leader in electrification initiatives and embraces collaborative opportunities, like the Transportation & Innovation Expo,” said Michelle Yun, senior manager of strategy and electrification for Alliant Energy. “Collaborations such as these enhance our purpose-driven strategy to serve customers and build stronger communities. Whether we’re working on our own fleet electrification or electrifying our major corridors as part of the National Electric Highway Coalition, it’s just one more way we are driving toward a more sustainable future that benefits everyone. In the long-run, the customers and the communities we serve all benefit from a cleaner energy future.”

    The event will offer multiple breakout sessions featuring the industry’s top leaders presenting on sustainable transportation choices. Topics range from incorporating electric vehicle and alternative fuel options into fleets, to state and federal programs and policies, vehicle outlooks for 2022 and beyond, sustainable choices for non-road equipment, sustainable options for bus fleets, electric vehicle and alternative fuel infrastructure and the roadway to municipal, business and industry fleet sustainability.

    A luncheon panel discussion will feature leaders from state and federal agencies sharing insight into the availability of funding to support sustainable transportation options in 2022 and beyond through a variety of programs and legislation. Agencies scheduled to participate include the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Wisconsin Office of Energy Innovation, Wisconsin Department of Transportation, Wisconsin Office of Sustainability and Clean Energy and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

    The 70,000-square-foot exhibit hall will feature a variety of exhibitors and indoor vehicle and equipment displays. Attendees will also have the opportunity to get behind the wheel of a variety of alternative fuel and electric vehicles during the ride and drive outside the exhibit hall.

    “Madison Gas and Electric is pleased to partner and co-sponsor the Transportation and Innovation Expo,” said Debbie Branson, manager of electrification for Madison Gas and Electric. “More organizations are turning to electric vehicles to move people and products. Madison Gas and Electric can help businesses transition their fleets, which can reduce costs and enhance sustainability. The Expo is an opportunity to learn more about the benefits of going electric.”

    Among the vehicles and equipment scheduled to be on hand are an electric recycling and refuse truck, a compressed natural gas shuttle bus, compressed natural gas snow plows, a hybrid street sweeper, a clean energy electric vehicle charging station, a propane F-150, an electric transit bus, a biodiesel plow truck and a variety of electric passenger vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles and much more.

    “The Transportation & Innovation Expo will be a celebration of the emerging global leadership displayed by South Central Wisconsin in the sustainable fleet industrial complex involving government agencies, private companies, utilities, educational institutions and nonprofits working together to turbocharge carbon dioxide reduction,” said Mahanth Joishy, superintendent of the City of Madison Fleet Service. “We are just at the beginning of this exciting revolution and the City of Madison is proud to work with our partners to host guests from down the road to across oceans and borders, in what I expect will be the best and most unique sustainable transportation gathering ever held in the United States.”

    Access to the expo hall and the ride and drive is free and open to the public throughout the day. Paid registration includes breakout sessions, continental breakfast, lunch, refreshments, access to exhibit booths and vehicle/equipment displays and the ride and drive as well as a networking reception in the Expo Hall the evening of April 27. Fleet managers receive all the benefits of paid registration free of charge, but pre-registration is required.

    Registration and more information is available online at www.wicleancities.org.


  • 25 Apr 2022 9:25 AM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)

    electric bus

    Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan completed his three day Wisconsin tour visiting West Salem and La Crosse Wednesday morning to talk about President Biden's 'Bipartisan Infrastructure Law'.

    Joined by Wisconsin elected officials, the meeting in La Crosse focused on public transportation, as the infrastructure law granted 5.6 billion dollars to the federal transit administration to fund grants for no emission public transportation.

    The City of La Crosse unveiled its first pair of electric busses that produce no emissions.

    Congressman Ron Kind said with the recent actions Russia has taken toward Ukraine, the United States should move away from foreign oil and move to an emission free solution.

    "As long as we have major countries producing these fossil fuel we will be held hostage by their bad actions. We are living and seeing that each day right now with price going up at the pump, it is all the more reason why we need to be stepping down on that accelerator and accelerating the conversion to a cleaner more sustainable energy future." 

    EPA Administrator Michael Regan said that these busses not only help the environment, but provide health benefits as well.

    "This is a significant investment opportunity for the health and well-being of the members of the La Crosse community and it is just exciting to be a part of it." Regan continued,  "And the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will provide billions of dollars for towns and cities all across the country to invest in similar opportunities."

    The MTU busses were manufactured in the United States.

    In addition to reducing green house gas emissions and pollution, Regan is also excited that these will bring manufacturing jobs to the United States as well.

    And said he hopes that zero emission transportation will become the American standard.


  • 21 Apr 2022 7:16 AM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)

     Sen. Tammy Baldwin joined Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway on Friday to highlight the millions of dollars in federal money the city is getting to help fund improvements at Metro Transit’s maintenance site.

    The funding from the Federal Transit Administration will help cover the costs of installing new maintenance bays and lifts, upgrading electrical systems as Metro Transit looks to move toward electric buses and building new facilities for drivers, among other updates, the city said.

    Last month, the FTA announced Madison will get $6.4 million in funding as part of a federal push to improve bus systems’ reliability and safety.

    “By investing in electric buses for our (bus rapid transit) system, we will save the city up to $125,000 in maintenance costs per vehicle during the lifetime of each bus,” Rhodes-Conway said during Friday’s event at the Metro Transit garage on East Washington Avenue. “We’ll also save up to 135 metric tons of greenhouse gases each year.”

    Baldwin called the money an investment not just in infrastructure but also in people.

    “This investment supports transit workers and improves their workplace,” she said. “It will help provide better service to Madison residents, including underserved communities of color, and by upgrading electrical infrastructure to support all-electric vehicles, we are paving the way to a cleaner Madison Metro Transit that serves the people of this community with lower energy costs and a better environment.”

    In late March, Rhodes-Conway and nine city alders introduced a resolution authorizing a contract to buy between 27 and 46 electric buses as the city looks to implement bus rapid transit.


  • 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: https://www.wisbusiness.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/FTA-FY22-State-Allocations.pdf 

    See the allocations by urbanized area here: https://www.wisbusiness.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/FTA-FY22-UZA-Apportionments.pdf 


  • 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.


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