MILWAUKEE COUNTY -- A bus rapid transit system is one step closer to reality in Milwaukee County.
The plan was approved Wednesday, July 13th by Milwaukee County's Transportation, Public Works and Transit Committee and Milwaukee's Public Works Committee.
The total cost for the nine-mile system between downtown Milwaukee and Wauwatosa is estimated around $45 million.
The new route would be faster and more frequent than current bus service.
Milwaukee County will file for a $36 million federal grant next month.
Below is a statement from Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele's Office:
“Milwaukee County’s Bus Rapid Transit project is crucial to stimulating economic growth and expanding job opportunities in our region, especially in the City of Milwaukee. We all know that a strong City of Milwaukee means a strong Milwaukee County and a strong Wisconsin.
“I applaud both the County’s Transportation, Public Works and Transit Committee and the City’s Public Works Committee for taking the next step towards implementing this project that will efficiently and affordably connect more people to more jobs while helping create a climate that attracts new businesses and new workers to Milwaukee.
“BRT is a major step toward modernizing our transit system in a responsible and sustainable way.”
From the ACLU to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and dozens of groups and organizations in between, support for the proposed Bus Rapid Transit project in Milwaukee County is diverse and wide ranging.
The proposed 9-mile route would provide an improved transit connection to major employment and activity centers through downtown Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center, Milwaukee’s near west side, and Wauwatosa. With more frequent service and faster travel times, BRT will give riders more time to spend with their families, more time to study for a final exam, or simply more time to relax at home.
An analysis shows that in less than 20 years the BRT project will attract as many as 9,000 new riders every day and cut bus travel times on the route. The study team found the proposed BRT service would also benefit drivers by taking more than 6,100 cars off the road and reduce the amount of miles people drive by up to 17 million miles a year. Fewer cars mean less congestion on local roads, and cleaner air for everyone.
The Wauwatosa Common Council voted last month to approve the proposed route. The full Milwaukee County Board and Milwaukee Common Council are expected to consider the proposal this month.
If all the local legislative bodies approve the route, Milwaukee County will file for a federal grant in August. It’s expected that 80 percent of the cost of the route will be covered by federal money.