Mayor’s Remarks at Historic Bus Rapid Transit Groundbreaking
Today, the City of Madison held the official groundbreaking for the East-West portion of the long-awaited bus rapid transit project. Mayor Satya was joined by Governor Tony Evers, Transportation Secretary Craig Thompson, other local Mayors, key institutional and community partners and staff from multiple City agencies for the celebration. The City also rolled out one of its very first electric buses. You can watch here. Mayor’s remarks below.
Welcome everyone on this very exciting day!
It has been 30 years that Madison has been pursuing rapid transit. Beginning with the Madison Metro Light Rail study in 1992, moving onto various iterations of trolley, commuter rail, and Transport2020.
And now, it is finally happening! We are finally bringing rapid transit in a way that is transformative for community members across the whole region.
Think about it--120,000 jobs, 80,000 residents, 3 hospitals, and 2 colleges will be within a 10 minute walk of the East-West BRT line. And we will grow those numbers even more when we implement North-South BRT.
And this is why it has been such a key part of my agenda. Someone who relies on transit to get to work shouldn’t have to make an hour and fifteen minute trip. We all deserve mobility choices that get us to where we need to go in a reasonable amount of time, and East-West BRT does that.
East-West BRT brings Madison into a league with other cities and regions we regularly compete with for jobs and people. We need to continue to be on the cutting edge of transportation, housing and employment initiatives that are making us an emerging leader in the country.
I am deeply grateful to the State of Wisconsin, Secretary Thompson and Governor Evers for their support and their vision of a modern and efficient rapid transit system that lifts regional economies and serves our residents well.
They understand that BRT is also key to meeting our climate goals. Transit emits half or less of the emissions as travel by personal vehicle – electric buses like this one behind me are even cleaner.
I am grateful to our partners, Mayor Esser and Sun Prairie, Mayor Brar and Middleton, President Benforado and Shorewood Hills, and County Executive Parisi, for helping make this BRT line a reality. Our region needs to work together to get our customers where they want to go.
I am grateful for the partnership and leadership of our Common Council, many of whom are here today and our City Committees, Transportation Policy and Planning Board; Board of Public Works, and Transportation Commission. They have been co-laborers in funding this initiative and have wrestled with the tough decisions. Nothing worthwhile comes easily – I am glad I am on this journey with you.
And I want to thank representatives here from Madison College, Madison Metropolitan School District, and UW-Madison. Each of you is considered a critical partner in our system as we work hand in hand to get students, young and old, to class on time and to jobs, internships and broader opportunities.
Thank you to our staff, our consultants and those at WisDOT that labored many long hours to get us to this point. After long nights and weekend hours – it is finally happening.
And though they are not able to be here, a very special thank you to our U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, our U.S. Congressman Mark Pocan, DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg and President Biden, the U.S. DOT and Federal Transit Administration. These include Region 5 Administrator Kelly Brookins and FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez. With their help and guidance, we are on track to receive the largest federal grant the City has ever experienced.
This federal investment will be transformative in the lives of Dane County residents – a game changer for the region.
And now I would like to introduce the Governor of the great state of Wisconsin -- Governor Tony Evers.