Dear Editor: As a student about to finish my undergraduate degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I am troubled by aspects of Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed state budget that fail to meet Wisconsin’s transportation needs.
Easily accessible public transit is a major factor in deciding where I’ll settle and start my career. Throughout college I have relied on the bus system in Madison. Although campus routes are good, taking the bus to other destinations can be hit or miss, especially on evenings or weekends. If these services are reduced due to funding reductions, graduates may relocate to other cities. I don’t relish the idea of trading the transit service and bike paths I’m used to for the traffic, pollution, and high cost of commuting by car in places where driving is the only option. Choosing transit over driving and maintaining a car will also help me pay off my student loans.
Chicago offers trains that facilitate an easy commute into and around the city. Bus service is also excellent, with frequent service and low fares. Even though we don’t have the same population density, Madison stands to lose out if we ignore growing traffic issues on the Beltline and the isthmus over the next decade.
Wisconsin should do all it can to avoid losing bright, young professionals to other states. Legislators can help do that with a budget that continues to support transit through the transportation fund, reduces highway spending, and expands public transit.