This week Governor Evers signed the 2021-23 biennial budget (2021 Wisconsin Act 58), which included an unprecedented one-time 50% cut to the transit systems in Milwaukee and Madison over the next two years.
While the shortfall in transit funding may be filled by federal COVID relief funds, it is not guaranteed. These one-time cuts are deeply distressing and we worry that the cuts could have long-term implications for transit across the state.
Additionally, the budget also funded the proposed $1.1 billion I-94 highway expansion in Milwaukee. This project will have significant impacts on the region’s population by creating new congestion and adding air pollution, while failing to help those who do not own a personal automobile or who are unable to drive.
This budget is a continuation of policy that has increased transportation carbon emissions at a time when we need to make critical investments to reduce emissions.
The decision to expand I-94 will not help us address Wisconsin’s crumbling local roads, but it will help some of the most privileged members of our society, suburban commuters, save a few minutes on their daily commute.
This is not the end of the struggle. The project still needs go through a new environmental documentation process with public meetings and it still needs to secure federal funds.
1000 Friends and our friends at CMRT are committed to an equitable transportation system that priorities sustainable and healthy communities.