New Routes Launch New Hope in Milwaukee

Celebrating a settlement with state and federal transportation officials and agencies, a press conference was held in Milwaukee to launch new bus routes into the suburbs.

A 2-year-old lawsuit, brought by the Black Health Coalition of Wisconsin and the Milwaukee Inner-city Congregations Allied for Hope, had alleged the $1.7 billion expansion of the Zoo Interchange in Milwaukee discriminated against urban minorities by not including public transportation improvements. In May of this year, the State of Wisconsin said it would pay $13.5 million for new Milwaukee County bus routes to help alleviate congestion during the reconstruction, settling the lawsuit.

Over the next four years, the $13.5 million will enable three new bus routes to carry workers and potential job seekers from downtown Milwaukee to industrial parks and suburban employment hubs.

“We are excited about these new bus routes,” stated Dr. Patricia McManus, president and CEO of Black Health Coalition of Wisconsin. “Central city residents will no longer be land locked from much-needed employment opportunities.”

“This is an opportunity to move us closer to what has been missing – a regional approach to transit,” said Rev. Willie Brisco, president of MICAH.

Buy Seasons Inc. Manager of Public Relations Holly Botsford said the routes will be a great benefit to its operations, based out of New Berlin. She said the company’s chief operating officer had been working a long time with the city of New Berlin and Waukesha County to provide this kind of access for potential workers so they were very excited to see these routes come to fruition.

In addition to the bus routes, the funding will also provide for mitigation measures, including public outreach, engagement and marketing.

Route 279 begins operation on Monday, August 25, and will connect to the Menomonee Falls Industrial Park. Route 6 begins operation on Sunday, August 24 and will connect to the New Berlin Industrial Park, as well as other job centers, including Mayfair Mall, Brookfield Square, FedEx and Bus Seasons Inc. A third route to Germantown will be launched in January 2015.