Transit systems throughout the state – and especially in Milwaukee County – need adequate support from the state to retain their role as vital economic development tools.
One of the critical issues facing Milwaukee County over the next several years will be how to fund the Milwaukee County Transit System. Catastrophic cuts have been avoided in recent years thanks to a one-time influx of federal money. But that money is gone, prospects for additional aid are dim and the county property tax is already overburdened. Crisis again appears to lie ahead, probably by 2015 at the latest.
This is not a surprise; the issues are well spelled out in a recent report by the nonpartisan Public Policy Forum, and the candidates for county executive are certainly aware of the issue. But aside from asking for more state help, not one has many good ideas for a Plan B. That Plan B could be necessary in case the state Legislature and Gov. Scott Walker don’t step up to help not only Milwaukee transit but transit systems throughout the state that also may be in jeopardy.
We urge the candidates who come through the primary on Tuesday to start thinking about proposals to manage the future of the system. We also urge the County Board to reconsider a Walker proposal for bus rapid transit lines in certain areas, using federal transit money that has been sitting unused for far too long.