Press Release: Statewide Coalition Urges WisDOT, Gov. Evers to Prioritize Transit

Statewide Coalition Urges WisDOT, Gov. Evers to Prioritize Transit with $75M Multi-Modal Grant Program

Applications from Transit Agencies Show Tremendous Need for Investment

[Madison] – In July, Gov. Evers announced the creation of a $75 million Multimodal Local Supplement (MLS) program to support critical transportation projects in communities across the state. Local governments and transit agencies submitted nearly 1,600 funding applications, totaling $1.46 billion in requests. Gov. Evers and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) are expected to announce funding decisions in the coming weeks. Leaders of the statewide Coalition for More Responsible Transportation urged WisDOT Secretary Craig Thompson to prioritize public transit investments in the agency’s funding decision, and released the following statements:

“We believe that Sec. Thompson should prioritize investments in public transit systems in WisDOT’s final funding decision,” said Cassie Steiner, Sierra Club – John Muir Chapter. State leaders have defunded public transportation for years, with detrimental impacts for the global climate and for Wisconsin communities. This grant offers a unique opportunity to make progress towards Gov. Evers’ ambitious climate goals while promoting healthier access to
employment, healthcare, and education.”

“New investment in public transportation would unlock access to opportunities for people throughout Wisconsin,” said Gregg May, 1000 Friends of Wisconsin. “Members of low-income and minority communities often lack access to reliable transportation options. In many areas, bus stops are poorly maintained or feel unsafe. Addressing these needs through grant investments will boost access to employment, help communities break out of cycles of poverty, and improve transportation safety.”

“State leaders’ focus on new road construction at the expense of other modes has left us with a transportation system that fails too many Wisconsinites,” said Peter Skopec, Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group (WISPIRG). “Communities across Wisconsin aren’t getting their fair share of state aid to cover transit costs. The Governor’s last budget was a good start to addressing the growing need for transit — but it’s far from enough. This grant program is an opportunity to support a critical part of our transportation system that provides access to employment, healthcare, and education to Wisconsin residents.”

“More and more Wisconsinites, from young people to our growing population of seniors and people with disabilities, will need options other than a car to get around in the future,” said Denise Jess, Wisconsin Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired. “While state leaders should make sure to provide consistent, reliable transit funding in the state budget, this unique leap year opportunity gives us a chance to get a jump on much-needed public transportation investments in our communities.”

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