Regional Transit Leadership Council formed to address transportation issues

Group hopes to bridge economic competitiveness gaps

A rendering of the Milwaukee County East-West Bus Rapid Transit line.
A rendering of the Milwaukee County East-West Bus Rapid Transit line.

Several Milwaukee-area leaders have formed a new group dedicated to advancing regional transit through public-private partnership.

A rendering of a Bus Rapid Transit line.
A rendering of the proposed bus rapid transit line.

The Regional Transit Leadership Council aims to better connect southeastern Wisconsin via transit to increase the region’s economic competitiveness and quality of life, the organization said in an announcement of its formation today. Among the issues it hopes to address are labor competition; jobs disconnect; the absence of modern, efficient transportation; and traffic and parking on local streets.

The RTLC is working with the Public Policy Forum to evaluate solving the “last mile” barrier to employment for workers taking public transit. It also plans to continue advancing the proposed bus rapid transit system between downtown Milwaukee and Wauwatosa, help connect workers to jobs, and develop a strategic action agenda to address the issues it has raised.

Nonprofit MetroGO! operates the RTLC. The Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Intergovernmental Cooperation Council and Mandel Group Inc. helped fund the creation of the council.

The RTLC executive committee includes: Chairman Paul Decker, board chair for Waukesha County; Vice chair John Kissinger, president and chief executive officer of GRAEF; Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett; Milwaukee city engineer Jeff Polenske; Wauwatosa Mayor Kathy Ehley; Associated General Contractors-Greater Milwaukee CEO Mike Fabishak; African American Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin president and CEO Eve Hall; Commercial Association of Realtors WI CEO Tracy Johnson; Milwaukee 7 executive director Pat O’Brien; Brookfield Mayor Steve Ponto; Oak Creek Mayor Steve Scaffidi; Milwaukee Downtown BID 21 CEO Beth Weirick; and Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission executive director Ken Yunker.

“The bedrock of the Leadership Council is the commitment from this diverse set of leaders to build a shared vision and collaborate to execute practical solutions,” Johnson said. “To do this today and beyond, we must have absolutely frank conversations while respecting the sensitivities that come with this topic.”

“We are fortunate to live in a vibrant region with many job opportunities and must partner to connect people to those jobs because it will enhance the livability and global competitiveness of our area,” Decker said.

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Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.

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