March 24, 2008

Milwaukee bus ridership holds key to KRM?

Bus fares are up in Milwaukee County; ridership is down -- 9% in one year.

Why should we in Racine care? Because -- along with all the other obstacles in KRM's way (can you say Robin Vos?) -- the success of the Milwaukee County Transit System affects the future of commuter rail between Chicago and Milwaukee.

At least, that's the implication of a story in Monday's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, comparing the positions on transit of Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker -- a strong supporter KRM -- and his challenger, State Sen. Lena Taylor. The key (to us) sentence is in this paragraph:
"Taylor says she supports KRM and will continue trying to fund it. Walker had previously backed KRM but now says improving and upgrading the bus system must come first. Federal officials have told the RTA that it will be difficult for the KRM to win crucial federal funding until the Milwaukee County bus system's future is more secure."
The rest of the story is HERE, but you've already seen the important part.


  1. Thank God for Robin Vos!

  2. Few ride the Milwaukee Bus system.
    The routes cut where the lowest ridership of them all.
    So we are to think that the KRM would do better?
    Oh yes did YOU take the BUS to work today?
    Did you take Metra the last time you went to Chicago?

  3. Pete, PLEASE answer this.

    KRM is projected to run at 1.4 million riders. That figure is to meet revenue projections to operate at an 83% loss. Anything more than that will have to be made up by additional tax revenue.

    The existing Hiawatha (considered successful) has annual ridership of 500,000.

    KRM is projected to run at almost 3 times that number?!?

    Now let’s take the math a bit further; KRM is projected to run 14 trains a day on weekdays, 7 on weekends. (All of this without an airport stop)

    This projects out to an average of 230 riders PER TRAIN. That figure is just to meet that revenue projection and run at an 83% loss. Anything less than that revenue projection will result in additional tax revenue needs. (tax increases)

    The truth about KRM is that this plan is not realistic in any way as presented, the revenue source does not even account for inflation or economic downturn.

    The truth of the matter is that advocates don't care about any of that, they want to get something running so they'll have an excuse to raise other taxes after we have already made the initial investment in order to keep the train running.

    Why can't people like you who obviously support this boondoggle at least be honest about how horrible this actual plan is?

    Can we at least have a plan to consider with an honest revenue and ridership projection? Have you actually read the plan? I have, every word. Written by rail advocates it is a document not based in reality, but a pie in the sky pipe dream.

    Can we at least have a plan to consider with an honest revenue source that will provide all necessary funding? The proposed 650% increase in rental care taxes will not raise anywhere near enough revenue.

    I asked Senator Lehman about all of these real problems in ridership projections and revenue shortages, his response, "People like trains".

    Oh, well that counters all that logic now doesn't it?

    KRM is a lie, a lie wrapped up in hopes of economic development. I lie built on ignoring the massive failures of light rail all over the country (none of which ignore their airports). It is a lie built to start us down a road that will be difficult to start. It is a lie we can not afford.

    The people of this community deserve an honest representation of this project.

    So hear we have an advocate again blasting Rep. Vos for being an obstructionist. Quite the contrary Rep. Vos has led the way in trying to let the people have their voices be heard through referendum. The truth is this is a bad deal for the area being sold as some panacea for economic growth.

    If you want a rail plan, can you at least come with a real one?