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For the next 25 years, Milwaukee Urban League’s big idea is proposing southeastern Wisconsin develop a regional transportation system. We believe having a metro/train rail system will increase residents' ability to travel within, especially for employment reasons, the state of Wisconsin.
Since Wisconsin, especially Milwaukee, has recently been exploring ways to keep the city and state current with constant re-developing of tourist attractions and living accommodations, we realize public transportation also serves as a barrier. The city of Milwaukee’s transit system mainly consists of buses, which although helpful to residents, does not reach all surrounding Milwaukee counties. Milwaukee’s newest transportation streetcar, The Hop, is a decent start, but it is extremely limited to one area of the city and does not serve the greater needs of residents.
More than 19% of city households lack access to a car and at least 25% in various zip codes or sections of the city are lacking a car, making connectivity a problem. Serving on the Regional Transit Leadership Council, our work revolves around improving access to jobs within and outside the city. According to National Express Transit, some benefits to public transportation include increased mobility, increased fuel efficiency, benefits to communities financially, and encouraging healthier habits.
Similar to other states like Illinois, New York, and Georgia, Wisconsin developing affordable regional transportation would alleviate the problem of lack of access to jobs around the state, and it would simply create better socioeconomic opportunities for all Wisconsinites. Through a regional transportation system, our tendency to be isolated and racially segregated, especially beyond the boundaries of Milwaukee, can finally be broken. It can encourage new opportunities for us to work and play together in an environment of respect and understanding of how our commonalities outweigh the differences in wanting access to quality of life.This column is part of “25 big ideas for Milwaukee and southeastern Wisconsin’s future,” a feature included in the BizTimes Milwaukee 25th anniversary issue. To read other contributions, visit biztimes.com/bigideas