Rallying for transit with other Milwaukee County Supervisors at Joint Finance hearing

I will be appearing with three future Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors colleagues at the State Legislatures Joint Finance Committee hearing. Here’s the announcement from Milwaukee County Supervisors Marina Dimitrijevic, 4th District, Patricia Jursik, 8th District, and Jim “Luigi” Schmitt, 19th District:

For Immediate Release April 8, 2011
Contact: Harold Mester, Public Information Manager
414/278-4051 or harold.mester@milwcnty.com


County residents invited to join Supervisors riding the bus to testify at public hearing

Milwaukee, WI – Milwaukee County Supervisors Marina Dimitrijevic, Patricia Jursik and Jim “Luigi” Schmitt, along with Supervisor-Elect Jason Haas, are inviting residents to join a coalition of Supervisors, transit advocates, and members of ATU Local 998 riding the bus to a public hearing of the State Legislature‟s Joint Finance Committee Monday morning. The coalition plans to ask State lawmakers to “Save OUR Ride” and preserve funding for the Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS), which continues to face a funding crisis. Despite 52% of Milwaukee County voters approving a referendum taking transit off the property tax, the State has not enacted a dedicated funding source.

“Unfortunately, the State Budget proposal includes a 10% cut to transit, which would lead to route cuts, longer transfer times, higher fares, and make it more difficult to create jobs or foster independence for disabled residents,” Supervisor Dimitrijevic said. “A healthy transit infrastructure is critical to our growth. Arbitrary cuts with no ability to increase local revenues could be a final blow to our transit system. We need to tell the Joint Finance Committee to support transit funding to Milwaukee County.”

“My colleagues and others are riding the bus Monday morning to show how important it is for us to have modern transit connections,” said Supervisor Michael Mayo, Sr., Chairman of the County Board‟s Transportation, Public Works & Transit Committee. “Transit connects workers with jobs, students with education, and retail with customers. We all must ‘Save OUR Ride’ to ensure a bright future.”

“I am particularly concerned about mass transit funding being shifted out of the transportation fund,” said Supervisor Jim “Luigi” Schmitt, Chairman of the Intergovernmental Relations Committee. “This would force us to compete with all other services in the general fund.”

Transit supporters are invited to join Supervisors as they ride the bus to the public hearing at State Fair Park. The group will board the 8:26 a.m. departure of MCTS Freeway Flyer Route 44U from the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee (UWM) at the corner of Hartford/Maryland. They will then ride to the Wisconsin State Fair Park Expo Center, 8200 W. Greenfield Avenue in West Allis. The bus is expected to arrive shortly before 9:00 a.m. Freeway Flyers could be cut unless action is taken to preserve State funding.

“Save OUR Ride” News Conference/Rally for transit funding 9:00 A.M. Monday, April 11, 2011 State Fair Park Expo Center 8200 W. Greenfield Avenue

Supporters riding from UWM:

Park in UWM Pavilion structure, Edgewood Ave. between Oakland and Downer. Walk to Hartford/Maryland.

Route 44U departs promptly at 8:26

Media and all other participants:

Supervisors will arrive on Route 44U near 84th/Greenfield by 9:00 a.m.

Joint Finance Committee Public Hearing is 10am – 6pm


Let me be clear that I stand with my colleagues. The new state budget spells dire trouble for transit. Without a dedicated source of funding, it has been ever-more difficult to find the funding to continue this vital service. If you want to fight unemployment, fund transit. If you want to fuel the economy, fund transit. To me, that is the only way to go.

Author: Jason Haas

Jason is an elected member of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, occasionally moonlights as an amateur gardener, and is a proud father of two, or three, depending on how you do the math.