Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors: Save JobLines with Amendment

Contact: Brian Rothgery

Lipscomb, Dimitrijevic Avert Cut to Jobs Access for Thousands

MILWAUKEE – County Board Chairman Theodore Lipscomb, Sr., and Supervisor Marina Dimitrijevic introduced a budget amendment to ensure that hundreds of Milwaukee County workers will continue to access jobs with a modified JobLines bus route. The Finance and Audit Committee adopted their proposal on a vote of 6 to 0. 

JobLines deliver thousands of workers to employers in Milwaukee and Waukesha County, face cancellation at the end of 2018 when their one-time funding runs out. A recent UW-Milwaukee study documented the importance of job access.

“I am proud to sponsor this budget amendment which will continue our successful Joblines transit route and connect Milwaukee County workers to much needed jobs in the region. The community called for action and we listened. Thousands of workers and their families will benefit from us providing this critical public service to reduce poverty and increase economic security, ” said Supervisor Dimitrijevic.

“MICAH thanks the county board for their work on this amendment, which we fully support. JobLines are critical to inner city workers’ ability to get to family supporting jobs in Waukesha County. With this amendment we are looking forward to collaborating on finding a permanent solution,” said Joyce Ellwanger.

The routes were originally financed by a court settlement that set aside more than $13 million for public transportation to job sites that were difficult for many city workers to access. Several advocacy groups sued the state of Wisconsin over the lack of access to public transportation in 2012.

“The Black Health Coalition, MICAH, and the ACLU achieved a major victory for workers who rely on public transit, and their accomplishment also gave MCTS a boost. JobLines routes work and they are the kind of solution that our region should build upon. With current funding running out soon we have an opportunity continue the routes for a limited time, but we need a long-term fix to finance our transit system. We’ll use this as an example of our challenges when we go to Madison to seek solutions to Milwaukee County’s looming fiscal crisis,” said Chairman Lipscomb.

The Milwaukee County Transit System proposed modifying two other routes, 57 and 22, to cover some of the area served by the JobLines route, but not past the Waukesha County line.

The proposal from Lipscomb and Dimitrijevic would extend the modified route into Waukesha in order to service 100% of riders and job sites through August of 2019.

The amendment also calls for Milwaukee County officials to work with Waukesha County and state leaders to find long-term, shared solutions to maintain the routes.