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Milwaukee County evaluating Bus Rapid Transit feasibility

At the direction of Milwaukee County executive Chris Abele, the Milwaukee County Department of Transportation is evaluating the use of Bus Rapid Transit service to connect downtown Milwaukee to the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center.

Bus Rapid Transit is a quicker route to a destination that is farther away, allowing for travel times similar to driving. BRT systems usually include a dedicated right of way, intersection treatments like traffic signal priority, branded stations, off board fare collection, platform level boarding, longer articulated buses and other amenities aimed at driving faster service, according to Abele’s office.

The route from downtown Milwaukee to the Regional Medical Center in Wauwatosa would connect two of the area’s largest job centers, stopping at other key neighborhoods along the way. The route, which would be woven into the existing Milwaukee County Transit System fixed-route service network, could also include stops at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Marquette University, MillerCoors and Harley-Davidson.

The Department of Transportation will work with several jurisdictions to create preliminary designs and calculate estimated costs using guidelines from the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, as well as cost sharing among private, federal, state and
local stakeholders.

Medical College to open pharmacy school in 2017 or 2018

The Medical College of Wisconsin announced that it plans to open a school of pharmacy in existing space at the Wauwatosa campus in the summer of 2017 or 2018.

Sixty students are expected in each class, and MCW is currently undergoing a national search for a founding dean with the assistance of the Boston recruiting firm Isaacson, Miller. Around 21 to 24 full-time employees are also anticipated to be hired depending on whether the program will be three or four years.

The development of the new school is intended to address an overall need for highly qualified pharmacists who can provide expanded services as part of a health care team, as well as to address pharmacist maldistribution in underserved communities in Wisconsin.

The school’s total startup cost is estimated to be around $30 million over five years. MCW’s Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment will provide $3 million for initial design and development.

The school of pharmacy will offer specialty tracks aligned with health needs such as pediatrics, psychiatry, cancer, pharmacogenomics and medical toxicology.

MCW began envisioning the pharmacy school five years ago, and it has been working to develop it for the last two.

Wisconsin banks report higher profit, increased lending in Q1

Wisconsin’s financial institutions reported net income of $259 million in the first quarter, up from $226 million in the first quarter of 2014, according to the Quarterly Banking Profile released this month by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

There were 247 FDIC-insured institutions with 22,323 full-time employees reporting in the first quarter, down from 257 institutions with 22,623 employees in the same period a year ago.

The banks’ assets totaled $102.9 billion, up from $99.5 billion in the first quarter of 2014.

Lending was up in the quarter, with $71.6 billion in total loans and leases, compared with $67.8 billion in the year ago quarter.

The net loans and leases to assets condition ratio was 68.4 percent in the first quarter, up from 66.9 percent in the first quarter of 2014.

Green Bay-based Associated Bank N.A. led Wisconsin banks in the quarter, with net income of $52.2 million. Associated remained the largest financial institution in the state by asset size, with $26.9 billion in total assets.

Madison-based John Deere Financial f.s.b. ranked second, with $17.7 million in net income. It has $2.1 billion in total assets. Waupaca-based First National Bank came in third, with $8.9 million in net income. It has $633.2 million in total assets.

Racine-based Johnson Bank, with $7.4 million in net income and $3.9 billion in total assets, ranks fourth. Madison-based AnchorBank fsb, with net income of $6.4 million and total assets of $2.1 billion, rounded out the top five.

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