One of the truly frustrating aspects of Wisconsin’s rejection of a 21st century, multi-model transit system is how short-sighted and unimaginative opponents have been.
From the governor to officials in suburbs, like Waukesha, to talk radio hosts, all based their dismissal of modern transit options on a singularly narrow view of this state and its citizens. To be sure this view was promoted by conservative ideology rather than research or even common sense for that matter. But it’s added to Wisconsin’s reputation as a state that cares little for the future.
Last week a new report showed use of public transit in this country has reached the highest level in almost 60 years. As many predicted, gas prices, general changes, life choices and new urban thinking have contributed to people leaving their cars parked and taking the bus, train or trolley.
Of course those numbers are reversed in Wisconsin where mass transit is under-funded, outdated or non-existent. Meanwhile the study shows unemployment rates have dropped and employment has gone up in cities that have invested in transit. We can only hope Wisconsin will someday be able to catch up.