Report says county transit cuts would make jobs inaccessible

If proposed cuts are made to the Milwaukee County Transit System, a minimum of  13,553 jobs in locations currently served by MCTS would become inaccessible for people without cars, according to a new report by the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee Center for Economic Development.
“Included in the proposed budget for 2012 are a series of route eliminations and other service reductions that, if implemented, would reduce both fixed route services and hours of operation by roughly 12 percent. It has become a familiar story for MCTS, which has been forced to reduce service, raise fares, or both every year since 2001 to close chronic budget gaps. These cuts have made it increasingly difficult for transit-dependent workers and job seekers to access employment opportunities in the Milwaukee metro area, contributing to Milwaukee’s poverty rate of 27 percent, fourth highest in the nation among cities with 250,000 or more residents,” the report stated.
The county’s transit crisis is made worse by Gov. Scott Walker’s budget, which imposes a 10-percent across-the-board cut in the state’s operating assistance for public transit systems, the report stated.
“Due to a provision in the budget that limits increases in the property tax levy for counties and municipalities, there is little the County can do to offset the loss of state funding with additional local revenue sources,” the report stated.
“The principal finding of this report is that implementation of the entire menu of service cuts proposed by MCTS would result in the loss of bus service to 997 of the 18,292 employers currently served by MCTS, a decline of 5.4 percent. The vast majority of these employers (all but 10 percent) are located in the suburbs,” the report stated.

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