Overhaul transit system to connect residents with employers

Will overhaul "the transit system to ensure residents without transportation are connected to the highest density of employers, as well as job training centers like MATC, MSOE, UWM and when possible, using smarter routes during shift changes and rush hour."

Subjects: Jobs, Transportation


Some steps toward improvement, but system has not been remade

Campaigning in 2011 on a pledge to help create jobs, Chris Abele said that as Milwaukee County executive he would overhaul the transit system to connect people who don't have transportation to employers and job-training centers.

Abele's one-year term is almost up (he's unopposed on the April 2012 ballot for a full four-year term).

How'd he do?

Deputy Chief of Staff John Zapfel said Abele eliminated a $15 million budget hole for transit, avoided cuts and fare increases, created three new express routes and spent long-unused federal transit money to replace a third of the county's buses. He said Abele and staff also have met with employers and educational institutions such as Milwaukee Area Technical College "to establish a firm foundation on which he intends to build."

MATC said in March 2012 it benefited when the county created one route and changed another to link the college's downtown campus with suburban campuses, but those changes were made in 2010, before Abele was elected. However, overall bus ridership rose in 2011, the first increase in three years.

These may all be steps toward "overhauling” the transit system.

But Abele gave himself a high bar for a one-year term. With just weeks left in his one-year term, we rate this one a Promise Broken.


Chris Abele campaign website, jobs page

Email interview, county executive deputy chief of staff John Zapfel, Feb. 16, 2012

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee County bus ridership up slightly in 2011,” March 8, 2012