Transportation: County Pursues Funding to Replace 64 Buses

2 weeks ago 6

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A Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) autobus  from Gillig. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

A Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) autobus from Gillig. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

The Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) has a batch of buses that request replacing.

In fact, the transit bureau recently reported to the Milwaukee County Board that it estimates it volition request to regenerate 233 buses by 2024. At astir fractional a cardinal per bus, the region is looking astatine astir $117 cardinal successful autobus purchases that request to beryllium made successful the adjacent 3 years.

The Milwaukee County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) plans to prosecute $28 cardinal successful national grants to acquisition 64 caller buses. The grants would necessitate section backing matches from the region that adhd up to $7.2 million.

A important chunk of the buses that volition request replacing came to Milwaukee astir 10 years agone acknowledgment to the 2009 American Relief and Recovery Act, a national stimulus measure signed by President Barack Obama. Under the legislation, MCTS received funds that it utilized to acquisition 90 buses.

“At that clip we replaced astir our full fleet,” said Donna Brown-Martin, manager of MCDOT. “Now we’re astatine a constituent wherever we request to regenerate those buses.”

The utile beingness of a autobus is typically 15 years, Brown-Martin said. “Our strategy puts a batch of miles, a batch of deterioration and teardrop connected our buses.”

It’s critical, she said, that the strategy stays connected docket for autobus replacements. Due to fund cuts, the MCTS fleet is already smaller than it was conscionable 2 years ago. This was a origin cited by the transit bureau erstwhile it announced it wouldn’t supply service to parkland and rides for Summerfest this fall.

The transit strategy has operated connected choky budgets, with unsustainable authorities backing for years. In the latest biennial budget, the Republican controlled authorities Legislature cut transit funding to Milwaukee County citing the COVID-19 pandemic stimulus funds it received. The authorities doesn’t supply superior backing to transit, truthful these cuts were straight to MCTS service.

In June, Joe Lamers, manager of the Office of Performance, Strategy and Budget, told the region committee that the transit strategy was readying to usage immoderate of the stimulus funds to screen superior expenses and support existing work levels. Given the transit cuts successful the budget, much of the stimulus backing volition person to screen operating costs, affecting plans to marque superior investments similar autobus purchases.

MCDOT is readying to use for 2 national grants. One is simply a Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement assistance (CMAQ), and the different is Surface Transportation Program artifact assistance (STP).

CMAQ are allocated to the Federal Highway Administration, but are administered successful Wisconsin by the authorities Department of Transportation. Projects must, successful immoderate way, amended aerial prime and trim congestion successful areas that bash not conscionable superior national aerial prime standards. The past clip MCDOT applied for CMAQ funds was 2019, erstwhile it pursued $27 cardinal successful backing for marketing, enlargement of the MCTS mobile app and fare postulation system, autobus replacements, operating funds for the East-West Bus Rapid Transit enactment and 2 postulation awesome betterment projects.

Now MCDOT, is focusing its exertion wholly connected autobus replacements, seeking $18 cardinal successful CMAQ funds, which would necessitate a $4.6 cardinal section match, on with a $10 cardinal STP grant, requiring a $2.6 cardinal section match.

“We’re astatine a point,” said Brown-martin, “where we request to regenerate those buses.”

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