Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele

WI: New Study Says Riders Want Improved Transit

A recent survey shows overwhelming support for improved transit across Milwaukee County.

Eighty-four percent of people said they would use transit more regularly if the transit network in Milwaukee County was improved. Milwaukee County hosted the online survey in February, nearly 300 people responded.

Aside from the results of the survey, the county also recently received a letter from business and community leaders asking for the board to work with County Executive Abele “on a transit solution that provides the greatest economic benefit to our region at the lowest cost to taxpayers.”

In response to the community’s input, Abele is asking the county board to stop their plan to bring transit in-house and instead allow the department of transportation to re-bid the transit service contract. The last bidding process resulted in a proposal that would have added millions of dollars a year to increased and improved transit service. The goal now is to achieve comparable savings through this proposed bidding process.

The current policy as set by the county board is to bring management and operation of Milwaukee County's transit services in-house. To add more than 1,000 employees to the county payroll would mean taking on additional cost and risk. The county would also lose the opportunity to leverage a professional management provider’s operational efficiencies, expertise and flexibility.

“One of the reasons we put the transit contract out to bid last year was to improve the system,” Abele said. “I remain committed to working with supervisors to find a solution to strengthen transit. I have asked the county board to stop the costly idea of bringing transit in-house and instead work with me to put in place a provider that brings the best value to the county.”

The board’s transportation committee will consider Abele’s proposal April 9.