Winters Receive Recognition for Advocating for the Bus System (1/18/16)
See certificate of appreciation from NAOMI (PDF).
Bus System Expansion Dead Again (11/20/15)
After voting on July 30, 2015, to approve a proposal to expand the transit system to Rothschilds, Schofield and Rib Mountain and voting again on October 8, 2015, to pursue grants to find a pilot version of the expansion, the Metro-Ride Transit Commission abruptly reversed course on November 19th. Citing problems with feasibility, Alderman Robert Mielke made a motion to suspend efforts to expand the bus system indefinitely. Read more.
Alderman Winters noted that bus ridership for the system as currently configured was down 10% for 2014 to 2015. He believes that the failure to add popular destination like the Rib Mountain shopping district will cause further decreases in ridership and ultimately spell the end for bus service.
History of the Transit Issue
Finding a way to save the bus system and provide inter-municipality transit and para-transit services have has been one of Alderman Winters’ priorities. As Wausau’s share of the metro area declines so does the utility of a Wausau-only bus system. More and more destinations are in suburban communities, and the bus just cannot get people there.
As the usefulness of a Wausau-only bus system diminishes in the eyes of riders, fewer and fewer people take the bus. Winters estimated that the bus system, as currently configured, will not be in operation much past 2020.
In an effort to foster inter-governmental cooperation on transit and make the transit system run to more destinations, Winters sponsored a resolution in the transit commission to send a 2016 budget request to Marathon County, the City of Schofield, the Village of Rothschild and the Town of Rib Mountain. The presentations can be viewed by clicking on the associated link below:
- Budget Proposal for Marathon County
- Budget Proposal for the City of Wausau
- Budget Proposal for the City of Schofield
- Budget Proposal for the Village of Rothschild
- Budget Proposal for the Rib Mountain Businesses District
- Staff Analysis of the Budget Request
- Appendix A – Excerpts from FOCUS 2013-2015 – Life in Marathon County
- Appendix B – City Pages article on job seekers and transit services
WSAU 55 carried a story and an editorial regarding the County Executive Committee’s reaction to the proposal (9/4/15). The committee declined to consider the request for 2016 and instead earmarked $10,000 for a study of county transit needs by the Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy & Service (WIPPS) in 2016.
To replace the county money, Winters has authored a grant proposal requesting $90,000 in grants to fund a pilot project to provide service to Schofield, Rothschilds and the Rib Mountain Business District. The components of that September 29th document are linked below:
- Grant Proposal & Budget (PDF)
The Metro-Ride Transit Commission voted to seek grants for a pilot project to extend bus service to Rothschild, Schofield and the Rib Mountain Business District on October 8, 2015. Read more about it in the Wausau Daily Herald.
This is not the first time Winters has lead a discussion on the impending plight of the bus system. Below are two opinion-editorials (op-eds) that he did on the subject:
Authorized and paid for by Friends of Keene Winters
Greg Strasser, Treasurer