August 2, 2014

JFC hears about transit

Hundreds of people attend the first of four budget hearings to weigh in on the governor’s two-year proposal.

There are some provisions of the $68 billion plan that Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele encourages the budget writing panel to reconsider. He says creating and maintaining private sector jobs in his county go hand in hand with public transit, which Abele calls a “severely-strained” system. “Maintaining a thriving transit system in Milwaukee is key,” he repeats for emphasis, “key, key to keeping the economic engine of our county and our state strong.”

Abele testifies to the Joint Finance Committee that state funding for transit is crucial for a health economy, saying 39 percent of the 150,000 daily rides on Milwaukee County Transit System connect workers to their jobs.

Abele says during the last biennial budget state transit aids were cut by 10 percent, leaving Milwaukee County Transit in a vulnerable position. “With gas prices hovering at record levels and funding for road building set to increase, we encourage you to restore transit funding in the state budget so that our workers can get to their jobs, seniors can get to their doctors and other vital activities.”

Lawmakers on the budget writing panel have three more hearings scheduled this month to hear from Wisconsinites about the budget proposal.