In a 4–1 vote, MCTS has been directed to begin applying for federal funding to implement a Bike Rack on Bus program for all Milwaukee County buses. County Supervisors Dimitrijevic, Devine, Nyklewicz and Weishan all voted in favor of the motion introduced by Dimitrijevic during the Transportation, Public Works and Transit Committee meeting this morning. Through intensive campaigning done by the Bicycle Federation of WI, the meeting room was filled to near capacity with over half of the audience there to support Bike Racks on Buses. A number of citizens and Bicycle Federation of WI staff and members provided positive testimony about the need and benefits for Bike Racks on Buses.
While the agenda item during the Committee meeting was earmarked as an informational agenda item only, with no planned resolution to be expected out of today’s meeting, overwhelming support for the implementation of a Bike Racks on Bus program prompted Supervisor Dimitrijevic to make a motion “authorizing and directing the Director of the Department of Transportation, Public Works and Transit and the Managing Director of the Milwaukee County Transit System to apply for 2008 Transportation Enhancement (TE) and 2009 Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) grants for the funding of bicycle racks on MCTS buses, with a report back to the TPWT Committee on the status of the grants.”
Despite impending fare increases and service cuts, implementing a Bike Rack on Bus program is an affordable and effective capitol improvement for MCTS, proven to increase ridership, expand service area and increase frequency of use. “Putting bike racks on our buses has proven to be one of the most cost effective, and easy to implement, strategies we have ever used to increase ridership, improve our image and serve our community” wrote Barry Barker, Executive Director of the Transit Authority of River City in Louisville, Kentucky in a letter addressing the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin’s Bike Rack on Bus Campaign.
While a Bike Rack on Bus program has an obvious initial cost, there are a number of federal programs which MCTS will apply for that cover 80% of the capital costs. These programs include Transportation Enhancements, Surface Transportation Discretionary and Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality programs. Just this past funding cycle, Racine was awarded $40,000 to implement a Bike Rack on Bus program by means of Transportation Enhancement money—a good sign for the likelihood of MCTS’s Bike Rack on Bus program also being funded. Lastly, by implementing a system-wide Bike Rack on Bus program MCTS will offer to Milwaukee residents a service which has become commonplace in the nation and Wisconsin, with 50% of Wisconsin’s transit agencies already implementing the program and 3 more expecting to in the near future.
CONTACT: Shea Schachameyer 414–431–1761 for additional information or to set up an interview with Executive Director, Jack Hirt.