PEOPLE-Local 645

  • Quality of Life Alliance

Beware Gubernatorial Candidates Bearing Transit Promises

Posted by Chris Liebenthal on August 12, 2010

From Milwaukee County First:

Last night, we informed the reader of a rally to be held this morning to decry the proposed cuts to the transit system.  We also encouraged the reader to call County Executive Scott Walker’s office to tell him to find a better way than to destroy our transit system and our regional economy.

Walker must have sensed what was coming and tried to curtail the repercussions by issuing a press release announcing that he would not eliminate any routes:

County Executive Scott Walker concluded a review of the Milwaukee County Transit System recommended budget earlier this week with his budget team and announced that he will not eliminate any routes. His proposed budget will also maintain existing countywide Paratransit service.

“While the 2011 budget is still being developed,” said Walker, “I want to reassure those who depend on our transit system that routes will not be eliminated.”

However, some simple questions from Steve Schultze of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel showed that Walker was leaving himself some wiggle room to still cause havoc with our transit system:

Walker’s statement was silent on whether he would propose curtailing some routes or raising fares. He has previously not ruled out fare increases.

Fran McLaughlin, Walker’s spokeswoman, said no decisions had been made yet by Walker on transit fare increases, eliminatino of portions of routes or reducing bus service frequency.

We must also caution our fellow transit supporters from being too optimistic about Walker’s promise.  It usually is not worth the paper it’s printed on, especially while Walker is more concerned about his campaign than he is about Milwaukee County.

Case in point, last year, Walker also stated that he would not cut routes, but did so anyway.  These routes had to be restored by the County Board to keep him from causing even further damage.

It should also be pointed out that all of the experts have pointed out that the best way to improve a transit system is to increase service and lower the fare.  Walker is notorious for doing just the opposite: decreasing services and jacking up the fares and even finding new ways to charge the transit users, like with the transfer fees.

We still encourage transit supporters to contact his office and let him know that while it is a good thing that he is making these promises, we will be watching him to make sure he keeps them this time.  Again,you can contact Scott Walker’s office (odds are he will be off campaigning on our dime instead of doing his job) and tell whoever might answer the phone that you want Walker to save the transit system, not destroy it.  Walker’s office’s phone number is 278-4211 and his email is countyexec@milwcnty.com.

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