Target: Tom Barrett, Mayor of Milwaukee
Goal: Expand and maintain quality public transit throughout Milwaukee
Buses and trains may no longer be segregated by race, but where, when, and how often they run still determines who is most easily able to get to work or school in any given city. In Milwaukee, recent cuts to the public transit system has left many of the city’s most vulnerable communities stranded, with many residents finding themselves unable to get to work on time, pick up their children from school, or travel to health centers to receive medical care. Urge the mayor of Milwaukee to ensure that all the city’s residents are adequately served by efficient, comprehensive transit.
Recent budget allocations demonstrate a clear bias in favor of Milwaukee’s already privileged residents. Although people in lower-income communities are far less likely to have a driver’s license or own a car, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation is prepared to spend $1.7 billion on highway expansion at the same time that the bus system is grasping for cash. By prioritizing automotive transportation above public transit, Milwaukee is sending the message that the interests of its wealthiest citizens come first.
Slashing bus routes to pay for highway repairs doesn’t just leave low income residents in the dust. It also seriously jeopardizes Milwaukee’s air quality by encouraging more drivers to stay on the road. A robust green bus system could aid both Milwaukee’s residents and its environment by encouraging people of all walks to opt for energy-efficient methods of getting around the city.
“Allowing multibillion-dollar highway projects to move forward while transit moves backwards reduces the opportunities to access health care, education, and other needs, as well as employment. And expanding highways while cutting transit also hurts our air quality, which is already much worse this year than it was last year,” said Dr. Patricia McManus, President/CEO of the Black Health Coalition of Wisconsin.
As jobless rates soar, especially in inner-city communities of color, Milwaukee must stand up for the transportation rights of all its residents. Sign the petition below and demand that Mayor Barrett reroute city funds to better bus systems, not highway expansions.
Dear Mayor Tom Barrett,
Every day, workers in Milwaukee depend on the city’s public transportation system to travel to and from their jobs. Parents pick up their children from school via public buses. In low-income inner-city communities, Milwaukee’s buses are often the only viable form of transportation.
Unfortunately, the city’s recent budget cuts have left many citizens scrambling for ways to get around. Bus routes that many depended on for the tasks of everyday life have been slashed. At the same time, the Zoo Interchange rebuilding project has soaked up $1.7 billion in city funds–sending the clear message that Milwaukee values drivers first and non-drivers second.
All residents of Milwaukee deserve the right to get around their own city without excessive delays or endless transfers. Making Milwaukee a driver’s city hurts the city’s people and contributes to an already troubling level of air pollution. I urge you to put the city’s best interests first and devise ways to fund an efficient, effective bus system that all of Milwaukee can use.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: vincent desjardins via Flickr