Governor Tony Evers invests $19.7 million in transit services for Milwaukee after state lawmakers cut funding

Governor Tony Evers announced a $25 million investment in transit services for the city of Madison and Milwaukee County on August 30, supported by funds from the state’s American Rescue Plan Act.

Madison will receive more than $5.2 million of the funds and more than $19.7 million will go to Milwaukee County. The news follows the governor’s recent announcement of $250 million in funding for two new competitive grant programs. His plan is to help Wisconsin communities bounce back and recover from the coronavirus pandemic with a $200 million neighborhood investment fund, as well as an infrastructure capital investment grant program. $50 million health care.

These programs will help neighborhoods recover from the pandemic and close the equity gap in our state, such as housing projects, transit and child care solutions, and improving access. health care in underserved communities.

“I often talk about connecting the dots, and that’s what our vital transportation systems across our state do, helping workers, families and students get from point A to point B safely. said Governor Evers. “For our most urban centers targeted by Republican cuts in the last budget, it was a slap in the face to the disproportionate number of Wisconsinites in those communities who rely on public transit to get to school, work, appointments you to the doctor – you call him. I am happy to put our ARPA funds to good use in these communities to help ensure that our families, workers, and businesses, as well as our economic engines for the state, continue to bounce back from the pandemic and see economic recovery. long-term.

The $25 million investment made by Governor Evers will help close a $32.7 million funding shortfall left by the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance during the state’s budget process. Republican lawmakers voted to siphon off transit funding through the state’s Urban Transit Operations Assistance Program in Milwaukee and Madison by 50% this fiscal year.

The GOP effort was widely seen as a direct political attack aimed at causing economic damage to the state’s two largest cities, which also happen to be heavily Democratic. The unwarranted budget cut also clashed with Republican claims that residents should return to work, amid a pandemic, as they crippled the very transportation services workers depended on to get to their jobs.

State Senator LaTonya Johnson called the budget cut “nasty, mean-spirited and counterproductive.” Representing Milwaukee’s North and Center wards, she is the only Democratic member of the Joint Finance Committee that is Republican-dominated.

“The money that was for COVID-19 relief, given to us by the federal government, should not have been punishment,” State Sen. Johnson said. “It should have been a way for our transit systems to sustain themselves during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The governor’s provision of resources will help Milwaukee and Madison support continued public transit services that provide Wisconsinites with a system to get to work, school and job training, medical appointments and other activities – especially for low-to-middle-income Wisconsinites, people with disabilities, and communities of color who disproportionately rely on public transit.

“Thank you Congress for passing the US bailout and thank you Governor Evers for recognizing the importance of funding a key resource for the residents of Milwaukee County. Transportation is an important resource in any community, but especially in Milwaukee County where we believe every resident should have connections to job centers, grocery stores, medical offices and recreation,” said Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley. of an investment in equity for our county and the exact kind of actions we need to take if we are to see families, communities and our economy succeed for years to come.”

Melvin Z. Madore