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Share Your Voice on the Future of Transit


Here is a letter from Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele about his #EngageMKE initiative, a first-of-its-kind opportunity for people to weigh in on the Milwaukee County Budget. 

 


Dear transit supporter,
 
Last year we worked hard to SAVE Transit; together we reformed the GO Pass to a more sustainable model that still is there for our most vulnerable residents, we added a new stream of dedicated funding for transit through the vehicle registration fee, and we paved the way for our next innovation, Bus Rapid Transit.
 
We’re in danger of losing that forward progress.
 
With changes in state and federal law that are out of our control, it’s going to be up to us at the local level to do what it takes to preserve our robust, reliable transit system.
 
Make no mistake, this year’s budget will be tough. Milwaukee County already receives less funding from the state for transit than we did in 2009 and recent proposals at the state level to address the state’s $1 billion transportation budget deficit will mean even less revenue for Milwaukee.

In addition to preserving a transit system that is an essential component of a healthy economy, connecting thousands of workers with employers every single day, we also have significant infrastructure needs including highway, parkway, and bridge repairs in all corners of the County.

I believe that the public should have as much opportunity as possible to make their voices heard as officials make these important decisions. That’s why this year, in addition to our standard public hearings on the budget, I launched my #EngageMKE initiative, a hands-on, first-of-its-kind community outreach and education campaign on the budget in all 19 municipalities. Using an interactive software called Balancing Act, County residents will be able to design and share their own budget for Milwaukee County.

You can check it out here: http://milwaukeecounty.abalancingact.com/

Using this tool you can easily visualize and understand the difficulties in balancing the needs of competing priorities with finite resources. You might decide that transit need more funding. I agree! But is there another department you would reduce? Or would you look to raise revenue through higher fees? These are some of the tough choices we have to make, and I want to know what you think.

Completing and submitting a balanced budget using Balancing Act doesn’t take very long -- and along the way you’ll learn a lot about how and where your tax dollars are being spent. I hope to learn from you and earn your trust as I make decisions about the upcoming budget. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Chris Abele