Federal government commits $40.9 million to Milwaukee County’s BRT project

June 15, 2020
The BRT system will help better connect the county’s transit system to major employment, education and recreation destinations.

The East-West Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line in Milwaukee County will receive $40.9 million in federal funding from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).

Over the past three years, Milwaukee County has been working collaboratively with partners — the city of Milwaukee, the city of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin Department of Transportation, local businesses, nonprofits and academia — to bring this nine-mile, regional transit project to the state.

“During these difficult times, it’s important to let states and communities know that transportation is essential,” said FTA Acting Director K. Jane Williams. “The federal government is committed to providing capital funds that address transit infrastructure.”

The $54.8-million project will allow the Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) to better connect major employment, education and recreation destinations through downtown Milwaukee, Marquette University, Milwaukee’s Near West Side, Wauwatosa and the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center.

MCTS says the BRT project will strengthen the entire transit network and aid in achieving opportunity and racial equity in a way that moves Milwaukee County closer to achieving its vision of becoming the healthiest county in the state.

President Donald Trump first announced the federal funding via Twitter on May 28, saying the project will spur millions in economic development in the state. On June 1, The FTA contacted the Milwaukee County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) to confirm that the BRT project will receive Small Starts grant funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

“We’re pleased that the federal government recognizes Milwaukee County’s transportation needs by providing their share of support,” said County Executive David Crowley. “This is especially welcome news as we look to jumpstart our economy that has been hard hit by the coronavirus disease pandemic.”

The BRT project is slated to begin construction in Spring 2021 with revenue service starting in Fall 2022.

“We’ve worked hard to move this project forward and look forward to working with the FTA to finalize the grant agreement so we can welcome current riders and invite new riders to experience the future of transit,” added Dan Boehm, managing director of MCTS.