MILWAUKEE – County Executive Chris Abele today unveiled a plan to preserve nine MCTS bus routes that were scheduled to be eliminated this year due to the County Board’s budget cuts. Abele is directing MCTS to use a one-time projected surplus to fund the routes for the remainder of 2018.

The County’s budget office recently identified a projected surplus of $481,082 due to higher-than-anticipated revenue from the vehicle registration fee after receiving updated figures from the state. This revenue projection was not available during the budget planning process, nor during the planning process to implement the County Board’s mandated budget cuts. While the County will still have to move forward with a cut to a planned service expansion in the Menomonee Valley due to the County Board’s budget cuts, the $481,082 in additional VRF revenue we’ve identified will prevent cuts to nine existing routes.

“Thanks to fiscally responsible budgeting, MCTS is projecting savings this year that we will use to keep the nine bus routes running,” County Executive Abele said. “However, people should be crystal clear that this is a short-term fix to a long-term funding issue. MCTS is a critical economic development tool that gets tens of thousands of people to work, school and job training every day. MCTS also serves as a lifeline for thousands who rely on transit to get to medical appointments, senior centers and shopping trips. I look forward to working with my partners on the County Board and lawmakers in Madison to solve this long-term funding issue and make sure everyone has the access they deserve.”

MCTS took the biggest hit of all departments resulting from the Milwaukee County Board’s mandated $15.6 million in budget cuts. MCTS was directed to cut nearly $900,000 from their operating budget as well as $1.5 million from their capital budget. To address that deficit, MCTS proposed eliminating nine bus routes with low ridership. The first of those cuts were slated to go into place in March, however Abele’s plan to use surplus funds will avoid the drastic cuts imposed by the County Board, allow time to look for a long-term solution, and continue his track record of supporting transit service.