Thursday, July 23, 2009

Every Bit Helps

By Lisa Kaiser
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Now that Gov. Doyle has crippled the Milwaukee County Transit System by vetoing a half-cent sales tax for local mass transit, bus advocates were hoping that some federal dollars would help them through the rough times. Well, they’re getting some assistance from Congresswoman Gwen Moore. From today’s announcement:

Congresswoman Moore secured $500,000 in the House bill for the Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) to replace a number of standard 40-foot buses that have already been in use beyond their average life expectancy of 12 years. MCTS has been unable to purchase new buses because of budgetary constraints.

The Senate will now consider the bill. [...]

“Furthermore, with the funds headed to MCTS for new buses, the city’s transit system will be able to purchase new vehicles that do not need constant maintenance. Milwaukee residents deserve reliable transportation and the assurance that they will be able to get to and from work and school on time.”

Since 2006, MCTS has been unable to purchase the new buses it needs because of tightening budgets, and maintenance and service issues are starting to burden the system. These funds will help with some of the $62 million project to replace the buses.

The funds won’t help MCTS’s operating budget, but they’ll help ease the burden of the cash-strapped bus system. Let’s hope our senators realize how badly Milwaukee needs a dependable transit system to get our residents to work.

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