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  • 5 May 2020 3:11 PM | Ann Smith (Administrator)

    At 71, Marvin Garner is very worried about the coronavirus.

    Before retiring, he spent 25 years as a certified nursing assistant. He knows what the damage could be, especially for someone like him who has heart trouble.

    "I'm worried because of the fact that my condition makes me vulnerable," he said.

    His health problems landed Garner in Aurora Sinai Medical Center for several days recently, where doctors also found fluid in his lungs. But despite his worries about the transit system, when it was time to return to his home at North 29th Street and West Highland Avenue, he waited for the bus — with a mask on.

    "I do (feel safe)," he said of riding the bus. "So far, so good."

    For those traveling on public transit, the potential to catch the coronavirus from other riders is real. Still, most people interviewed for this story said they've relied on the bus to get them around for years and won't stop now, despite fears of the pandemic.

    But the county bus system is likely to take a sizable financial hit as a result of the pandemic, and concerns remain for both riders and drivers.

    Lorena, a Milwaukee native who didn't want to give her last name, was waiting for a ride home one recent day after her work ended at Northwestern Mutual Insurance Co.

    The 52-year-old said she is taking extra precautions — wearing a face mask and gloves — because she has diabetes. Still, she said she thinks the buses are fairly safe.

    "I feel safe," she said. "As safe as I can be."

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  • 7 Apr 2020 9:05 AM | Ann Smith (Administrator)

    MADISON, Wis. (WKBT) – Local governments throughout Wisconsin are receiving more than $99 million in transportation aid this week, including $565,501 for the city of La Crosse and $215,332 to the city of Onalaska.
    The Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s quarterly payments to 1,850 villages, towns and cities total $99,147,647 are for General Transportation Aids, Connecting Highway Aids and Expressway Policing Aids.
    General Transportation Aids help cover the costs of constructing, maintaining and operating roads and streets under local jurisdiction. Connecting Highway Aids reimburse municipalities for maintenance and traffic control on certain state highways within municipalities.
    “The importance of a sound transportation system is especially evident as we face the challenge of the COVID-19 public emergency,” Transportation Secretary-designee Craig Thompson said.
    “The local system is the essential first and last miles, making sure that vital goods like food and medical supplies are getting to where they’re needed,” Thompson said.
    For calendar year 2020, local governments will receive an estimated $521 million in financial assistance to support transportation related projects. The tally is a 10 percent increase over the previous biennial budget.
    Quarterly payments for cities, towns and villages are sent the first Monday in January, April, July and October. County payments are made in three installments, with 25 percent of the total annual payment on the first Monday in January, 50 percent on the first Monday in July and 25 percent on the first Monday in October.
    Other amounts in the area include the following:

    • City of Sparta, $139,999
    • City of Tomah, $157,060
    • City of Viroqua, $59,625
    • City of Westby, $24,028
    • Village of Holmen, $78,580
    • Village of West Salem, $35,846
    • Town of Shelby, $43,938
    • Town of Onalaska, $31,793.

    The full list is available here:

    State Highway Money

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  • 19 Feb 2020 3:11 PM | Ann Smith (Administrator)

    If you’re looking for a sign of the need for more road money in Wisconsin, here it is: The Wisconsin Department of Transportation recently sought applications from local governments for one-time grants to improve infrastructure.

    The DOT made a total of $75 million available. Individual grants are capped at $3.5 million a project.

    So how many applications did WisDOT receive? A total of 1,600 eligible applications.

    Read More...

  • 7 Feb 2020 12:01 PM | Ann Smith (Administrator)

    Local governments are seeing the first of the additional local road funding provided by the 2019-2021 budget. Last month Governor Tony Evers announced that local governments received quarterly payments totaling $132,198,446 for General Transportation Aids, Connecting Highway Aids and Expressway Policing Aids from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT).

    Read More...

  • 7 Feb 2020 11:58 AM | Ann Smith (Administrator)

    It took two days for her car to get fixed. In the meantime, Williams discovered that Mauston offered a taxi service. For about $10, she was able to make it to work in the morning.

    “I didn’t know what to do, I was stressed out,” Williams said. “I was outside the city, so I didn’t think they’d come get me, but they did and I was able to get a ride home after work with (a coworker).”

    For many residents of rural communities, public transit like the Mauston taxi service is a necessity. Whether because of age, disability, or unexpected circumstance, those services allow residents to get to work, shop for groceries, or make it to their doctor appointments.

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