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Driving Wisconsin's 'Brain Drain'

How Outdated Transportation Policies Undermine Wisconsin's Ability to Attract and Retain Young Talent for Tomorrow's Economic Prosperity

The WISPIRG Foundation released the report, Driving Wisconsin's "Brain Drain," which reviews the relationship between the Millennial mindset and Wisconsin's transportation policies. WISPRIG finds that without an update to our state's transportation policies, "young talent that is essential to Wisconsin’s future economic prosperity" may move away.

The WISPIRG survey revealed that most Wisconsin college students want the ability to get around without a car, and many may leave Wisconsin without that option. This demand starkly contrasts with Wisconsin transportation policies, which often favor highway expansion projects over critical transit upgrades.

“Living in a community that has biking and transit options is increasingly important to me as I start to think about where I might live after graduation,” said Claire Cameron, a UW Madison senior next year. “Transportation officials and engineers need to stop planning for the past, and plan for the future by making sure that we are providing quality of life amenities like a good transit system that will make this a desirable place to live after graduation for people like me and many other young adults who have a deep connection to Wisconsin and cities like Madison.”

“The Millennial generation is seeking a different transportation future than the spending priorities of state and federal leaders.  Our state transportation budget is out of touch with the way young people are getting around and the transportation future they seek,” said Bruce Speight, WISPIRG Foundation Director.  “State leaders need to reform transportation priorities or risk losing the young talent and educated workforce that are crucial to our economic prosperity [Brain Drain].”

To combat 'Brain Drain,' WISPIRG Foundation urges state and federal leaders to:

• Increase funding for the transit, bike, and pedestrian infrastructure that more and more Millennials are demanding and gravitating towards,
• Save money by scaling back or canceling unneeded highway expansion, 
• Collect more data on the transportation preferences of young people, and
• Revisit past traffic growth projections for proposed highway expansion projects in light of recent trends in driving.


For additional information and findings read full WISPRIG Press Release.


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