Milwaukee County Board
Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic, left, shows her bus
pass to Milwaukee County Supervisors Jason Haas,
second from left, Theo Lipscomb Sr. and Patricia
Jursik while waiting on a Route 80 bus at Milwaukee
Area Technical College’s campus in Oak Creek that is
part of expanded bus routes in Milwaukee County.
Katherine Michalets/Freeman Staff
CREEK - Waiting for the route 80 bus to arrive
outside Milwaukee Area Technical College’s Oak Creek
campus Monday morning, Milwaukee County Board
Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic was in high spirits
as she and three other county supervisors celebrated
a board-approved expansion of bus service.
said when would-be developers look at purchasing a
potential site, one of the first questions they ask
is if it’s near public transportation.
effort to better connect workers and jobs, the
Milwaukee County Board voted to add and expand bus
lines to Oak Creek and Brown Deer. On Monday the
co-sponsors of the successful 2015 budget
initiative, County Supervisors Theo Lipscomb Sr. and
Patricia Jursik, rode on the route 80 bus with
Dimitrijevic and County Supervisor John Haas.
Jursik said the expanded bus routes, which started
Sunday, will help connect the workforce to job
“Residents often work across county lines,” Jursik
said. “We are expanding the transit to do the same
thing people do.”
the expanded route 80 was announced, Jursik said,
Froedtert Medical Center made plans to build a new
location along the route.
Access to public transportation is more than a
metro-Milwaukee or regional issue - it is a national
issue, said Kerry Thomas, executive director of
MetroGo!, a nonprofit organization with the goal of
engaging and inspiring people to create a regional
transit network across a six-county metro Milwaukee
area to fuel the economy and workforce growth. The
group will be holding a forum on the topic in
Brookfield on Wednesday.
can start to think about this now. Transportation
doesn’t happen overnight,” Thomas said.
According to MetroGo!, the number of jobs is
projected to exceed the working age population (ages
20 to 64) by 2020; however, transit service has been
reduced 22 percent in the region since 2001.
“Filling positions can be difficult. Good transit
would give us a bigger candidate pool and the wider
skill set we need to fill jobs and support
expansion,” said Denise Huebner, human resources
manager at Terex Utilities, Inc. in the City of
Pewaukee, in a statement.
Filling quantity gap
MetroGo! reports that three of the four bus routes
connecting Milwaukee County workers to employers in
suburban counties were started in the past year, and
are supported with temporary funding sources that
will require replacement by 2018.
are moving beyond the skills gap. Now it’s more of a
quantity gap, and it cuts across all skill levels,"
said Dennis Winters, chief economist at the
Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, in a
Thomas said the lack of transportation to connect
workers and jobs could result in a significant
negative economic impact nationally.
said there could be “big challenges coming up,
especially for suburban businesses.”
think it’s becoming an issue that is more about
employers and how they are going to get employees,”
Jursik said it’s a matter of elected officials being
responsive to the citizens, whether they are seniors
needing to get to a doctor’s appointment by bus or a
worker needing to get to a job.
Milwaukee County Board has also voted to fund a new
route, 276, the Brown Deer Shuttle.
new route will help residents of Brown Deer access
the larger, county-wide system. Transit is one of
the most efficient and environmentally friendly ways
to get people around the county. We must continue to
expand routes and improve service to ensure everyone
in Milwaukee County has access to adequate
transportation,” Lipscomb said in a statement.