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District 19

Alder Keith Furman

Image of Alder Keith Furman,
Council President

Alder Keith Furman,
Council President

Contact Information

Council Office

Common Council Office:
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Room 417
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
WI Relay Service

District 19 Blog

BRT Meeting, Financial Resources Hotline, and Secure Absentee Ballot Drop Boxes

October 16, 2020 9:52 AM

Madison East-West Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Planning Continues

Project Kick-Off Meeting, October 22, 2020

What: Madison East-West BRT Planning Study – Project Development Kickoff Virtual Meeting
When: Thursday, October 22, 6 – 8 p.m.
Where: Zoom link located at
Why: Join us to learn about the next phase of the East-West BRT planning study, Project Development. Review the progress completed to date. Learn about the process and outcomes for BRT Project Development. Share your perspective on BRT routes, station design, service plan, and economic development impacts. Learn about improvements to existing North-South Metro routes.

Project Description

In August, 2020 the City of Madison's proposed East-West Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) System was accepted into the Federal Transit Authority's Small Starts Program. The Small Starts Program is a competitive grant program supporting rail and other fixed guideway transit systems, including BRT. Acceptance into the program authorizes the city to proceed into Project Development, the more detailed planning process required for the implementation of the East-West BRT system.

BRT systems provide a faster, more reliable, and improved user experience to access jobs, schools, and entertainment through:

  • High-frequency service
  • Dedicated lanes (where feasible)
  • Signal management
  • Larger buses with multi-door boarding and bike storage
  • Modern accessible stations
  • Cashless automated fare collections prior to boarding
  • Coordinated connections to existing local bus systems

The East-West BRT Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA), adopted by the Common Council on March 31st, 2020, will run along East Washington Avenue, around the Capitol building, through the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison) campus, continuing west on University Avenue and Mineral Point Road to the West Towne Mall. The alignment is approximately 15 miles in length and will connect key activity centers such as Madison College, Downtown Madison, the UW-Madison campus, the Capitol and government buildings, and major employers located throughout the corridor, including CUNA Mutual, University Research Park and several malls.

Construction of the East-West BRT will cost $160 million with $107 million from the FTA and $53 million in City of Madison matching funds, based on the proposed 2021 Madison Capital Improvement Plan. The East-West BRT will run 55 to 59 minutes (end-to-end one way) with frequencies of 15 minutes during business hours and 30 minutes during evenings and weekends.

The East-West BRT system will include three separate service patterns, one of which will serve as a link between the North and South Transfer Points. The route will use BRT buses and will operate as BRT from Park Street to 1st Street and as local service north and south of the BRT corridor. Buses will run every 15 minutes weekdays and 30 minutes evenings and weekends. The East-West BRT budget includes funding to purchase the 60-foot electric buses needed for the North/South BRT line, making that project easier to fund in the future.

The goal of the Madison East-West BRT Project Development process is to develop the detailed design, and engineering for routes, stations, and operations. It will also analyze a few remaining route alternatives including center running on East Washington and Mineral Point and the Mendota Street, as well as the location certain stations on the near east and far west sides. The process will kick off at the first community meeting on Thursday, October 22nd (see details below) and will be completed in 2022 with construction beginning in 2023. The targeted start date for the new line is 2024.

Get Involved!

The City of Madison invites community members to learn more about Madison's East-West BRT, share input on proposed routes, station location, design, and amenities. The kickoff meeting is the first step in a broad public engagement process designed to ensure that Madison BRT reflects a range of community needs, concerns and priorities. Please share your input to make this project a success!

Project Website and Mailing List
Visit to: Access the map of the approved locally preferred routes, Review previous community input and project reports, Learn about the current planning and engagement process, and Sign up for project updates, including public meetings and events


City of Madison Launches Financial Resources Hotline

Financial Resources Hotline Graphic

Madison residents seeking help with financial concerns due to the COVID-19 pandemic can contact a new, free hotline to be connected with a "Financial Navigator" – a person they can talk to about their financial concerns.

Financial Navigators are available at no cost to provide guidance, over the phone, to help residents access available programs and services to manage income loss and other financial concerns they may be experiencing. With one-on-one discussions, they will help to address personal financial issues, identify immediate steps to manage expenses and maximize income, and make referrals to other services such as bill paying assistance, government benefits and other programs that may come from future stimulus packages.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly increased the financial strain on many Madison households. I'm grateful that the City of Madison can provide this service to our residents," said Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway. "I hope it will help connect people get connected to the resources they need. I want to thank our partners and the City staff that are making this possible."

The City of Madison was among the first cohort of municipalities awarded a grant from Cities for Financial Empowerment (CFE) Fund's Financial Navigators  program in May of 2020.  To-date, 31 municipalities across the country are participating in the program. 

"Financial distress is a primary part of the COVID-19 crisis, and we're pleased Mayor Rhodes-Conway and her team is making this a priority for Madison residents," said Jonathan Mintz, President and CEO of the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund. "The Financial Navigators program will help Madison residents assess and prioritize their financial concerns and get connected with the right resources."

The $80,000 one-year grant provides operating support, training, technical assistance, and access to data infrastructure to administer the program and access up-to-date pandemic-related policy information and resources.  The City has committed to operate the hotline for one year with the possibility of continuing services if the need remains.  The CFE Fund's Financial Navigators initiative is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Citi Foundation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and the Wells Fargo Foundation.

"Sound financial health is a critical component of addressing the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on low-income and diverse communities in the U.S," said Sarah Bainton Kahn, VP of Global Philanthropy, JPMorgan Chase & Co. "We are pleased to collaborate with the CFE Fund to help people in Madison to access the tools and services they need to build resiliency and advance their financial health."

The Financial Resources Hotline is being led by the Community Development Division in partnership with Madison Public Library. With libraries being closed to most in-person services during the pandemic, several librarians have been redeployed to the Financial Resources Hotline and have received training as Financial Navigators, continuing their work of providing information and referral services to the public.  Community Development staff are also staffing the hotline, developing content and managing its operations.

How to Access the Hotline:
To access the Hotline, residents can visit: and fill out a short interest form, or they can call (608) 315-5151 Mondays through Fridays from 11 am - 7 pm or Saturdays, 12 pm - 5 pm to sign up. They will be contacted within 48 hours, Mondays through Fridays, by a Financial Navigator to begin their personal session. Call back hours are Mondays through Fridays 9 am – 6 pm.  Hotline sessions will last about 30 minutes and address residents' most pressing needs.  Residents are invited to sign up for as many sessions as they like, but there is no guarantee they will be matched with the same Financial Navigator.

Organizations across Madison can also refer clients directly to a Financial Navigator by sharing the link or helping them fill out the interest form. Financial navigation sessions are available directly in English, Hmong, and Spanish, with ASL and other languages available through the City's interpretation services. 

About the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund)
The CFE Fund supports municipal efforts to improve the financial stability of households by leveraging opportunities unique to local government. By translating cutting edge experience with large scale programs, research, and policy in cities of all sizes, the CFE Fund assists mayors and other local leaders to identify, develop, fund, implement, and research pilots and programs that help families build assets and make the most of their financial resources. The CFE Fund is currently working in almost 101 cities and has disbursed over $43 million to city governments and their partners to support these efforts. For more information, please visit  or follow CFE Fund on Twitter at @CFEFund.

Residents who have further questions about the hotline should call (608) 315-5151 or visit

City of Madison Unveils Secure Absentee Ballot Drop Boxes

Photo of Drop Box

The City of Madison Clerk's Office has purchased 14 secure ballot drop boxes that are being placed at 13 Madison Fire stations and at Elver Park shelter. Installation of the boxes should be completed by City of Madison Engineering crews this afternoon.

The drop boxes are made for the sole purpose of ballot collection, and are manufactured with a minimum of ¼" steel. The seams are fully welded to prevent damage and tampering.

The last ballot box pick-up will occur by 5:00pm the day before Election Day, and the slots will be closed and locked at that time. Voters will be directed to drop their absentee ballot off at their polling place on Election Day if they still have it.

Anticipating that these boxes will be a very popular option for City of Madison absentee voters this weekend, the City Clerk's Office has scheduled two pick-ups for each location this Saturday and Sunday: the first pick-up will happen by 1:00pm and the second pick-up will happen by 5:00pm. Clerk's Office staff will determine if more than one pick-up time will be necessary after this weekend.

Sworn election officials will pick-up ballots from the secure drop boxes and deliver them directly back to the Clerk's Office. The election officials will be wearing City of Madison Clerk high-visibility vests and nametags. They will count the number of ballots they are picking up, place them in a bag and secure the bag with a tamper-evident seal. The number of ballots and the seal number of the bag will be noted on the chain of custody form specific to that ballot box location. The chain of custody form will be returned back to the Clerk's Office with the ballots, and Clerk's Office staff will confirm the seal number of the bag and the number of ballots returned.

The City of Madison absentee ballot drop boxes are for City of Madison voters. Voters in other municipalities should seek information from their own municipal clerk about how to safely return their absentee ballot.

The City Clerk's Office would like to thank the Department of Planning, the Madison Fire Department, Madison Parks, City of Madison Traffic Engineering, and City of Madison Engineering for all of their help in determining locations and in coordinating the installation of the drop boxes.

City of Madison Absentee Ballot Drop Box Locations:

  • Station 1: 316 W Dayton St
    • Box is located just east of the main driveway.
  • Station 2: 421 Grand Canyon Dr
    • Box is located on west side of Grand Teton Pkwy before the station's back driveway.
  • Station 3: 1217 Williamson St
    • Box is located in small garden just outside station front door. Walk-up traffic only.
  • Station 4: 1437 Monroe St
    • Box is located just east of driveway right across from the badger at Camp Randall. Just beneath the Madison: Solar America City sign.
  • Station 5: 4418 Cottage Grove Rd
    • Box is located on Atlas Ave between the bus stop and the station's back driveway.
  • Station 6: 825 W Badger Rd
    • Box is located behind station on west side of Perry St just south of Madison College driveway.
  • Station 8: 3945 Lien Rd
    • Box is located east of station on east side of Parkside Dr.
  • Station 9: 201 N Midvale Blvd
    • Box is located behind station on west side of Meadow Ln.
  • Station 10: 1517 Troy Dr
    • Box is located on north side of station near the intersection of Troy Dr and Hanover St.
  • Station 11: 4011 Morgan Way
    • Box is located behind station on east side of Crossing Pl between station driveway and intersection of Crossing Pl and Nelson Rd.
  • Station 12: 400 South Point Rd
    • Box is located just north of station on South Point Rd near intersection of South Point Rd and Briar Haven Dr.
  • Station 13: 6350 Town Center Dr
    • Box is located just east of station driveway on north side of Town Center Dr.
  • Station 14: 3201 Dairy Dr
    • Box is located just north of station driveway near intersection of Dairy Dr and Prairie Dock Dr.
  • Elver Park Shelter: 1250 McKenna Blvd
    • Box is located in island of the circle drive near the park shelter.

More Info about Drop Off Options


As always, if there is anything I can do to help, feel free to reach out:

-Keith F

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