January 30, 2009
NEWS FROM THE MAYOR
You’ve heard a lot of public discourse on transportation proposals, from talk of high speed rail and commuter rail connections between our regional cities, to local demands for better options to get around Milwaukee. I’m often asked, ‘What can we do’ to move Milwaukee and the region forward on transportation? There is something you can do.
The Milwaukee Connector Study, the group charged with evaluating and recommending a locally-preferred plan, is holding six public meetings to collect your input on local transportation needs. I’ve listed the dates and details of these meetings at the end of this email. I urge you to attend these meetings or submit your comments online. Please see below to sign an online petition.
At the core of the public conversation is how Milwaukee can begin to better connect more people to work, to popular city destinations and to regional transportation. There are differences in opinion on which existing or new transit options Milwaukee should proceed with; and there are differences in opinion on how designated federal funding should be used to improve the ability to get from here to there. As you know, I’ve proposed a Comprehensive Transit Strategy that splits the $91.5 million in federal transit money designated for Milwaukee. That strategy calls for investing about half in Bus Rapid Transit to help the County’s struggling bus system, and using the other half to create a new starter streetcar system called the Downtown Circulator. (For more information on my Comprehensive Transit Strategy, please visit: www.city.milwaukee.gov/transit.)
There are four principles that I believe we all can agree upon and should ask the Milwaukee Connector Study group to incorporate in its recommended local transit plan:
- The Connector plan should enhance and expand existing public transit service in Milwaukee.
- Transit routes that are fixed in place are more likely to spur significant development. Thus, the Connector plan should include fixed transit.
- The design of the Connector plan should maximize the amount of federal transit investment attracted to Milwaukee.
- The Connector plan should be viewed as a significant, substantial beginning to major transit improvements in Milwaukee — with the expectation that our community will build upon these improvements over time.
If you agree we should ask for these principles to guide any future transit plan, click here to sign an on-line petition. From our area planning sessions across Milwaukee, we’ve heard from the public that transit improvements are critical to our economic future. We hear this from employers, employees, visitors to downtown, residents and prospective companies considering a move to our region.
Each transit improvement in Milwaukee takes us further along the track. We celebrated the transformation of our old downtown Amtrak Station into the dynamic Milwaukee Intermodal Station that includes bus options. There were cheers when an Amtrak stop was added to General Mitchell International Airport. And support is growing for a Regional Transit Authority with a dedicated funding source for other transit options, like commuter rail.
For those of you who tell me you would like to see Milwaukee stay on the right track and not lag behind other major U.S. Cities, here’s your chance to help.
Attend any of the meetings listed below. It’s an open house format so drop in anytime between 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on the following dates:
February 3, 2009
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Union
2200 E. Kenwood Blvd.
February 4, 2009
Fritsche Middle School Cafeteria
2969 S. Howell Avenue
February 5, 2009
Black Historical Society
2620 W. Center Street
February 10, 2009
1 Northwestern Mutual Way (S.27th Drexel and Rawson)
February 11, 2009
Milwaukee County Research Park Technology Innovation Center - Room 162
10437 Innovation Dr.
February 12, 2009
Harbor Lights Room
910 E. Michigan Street
Mayor, City of Milwaukee
Visit my website at: http://www.city.milwaukee.gov/mayor