Thursday, December 16, 2021

What's happening? What's coming up?


The LAPC Regional Transit Development Plan is continuing and the consultant recently rolled out preliminary findings and sample updates. If you missed the stakeholder meetings, please check out the display at the main library on Main Street in La Crosse or view the information at the project web page. You may also view the presentation on YouTube.


Planning for Transit Equity WEEK (January 31 through February 4, 2022) is underway. If you would like to join the planning team, please email Our next planning meeting is on Monday, December 20 at 2 p.m. Plans include a public display, collecting riders' stories, engaging our elected officials, public declarations of support for transit and transit equity, and more. Stay tuned and watch the event page for updates coming soon!

If you haven't yet registered to attend Transportation 4 America's TRANSPORTATION CAMP on January 8, there's still time. There is a very modest charge to register, but it will be worth it. The ONLINE event will include four breakout sessions, an online lunch networking opportunity, and a keynote talk by Kim Lucas, the Sustainable Transportation Branch Manager with the District Department of Transportation, Planning & Sustainability Division, in Washington, D.C

LATA will be planning for 2022 events, programs, speakers, and actions soon. If you have suggestions or would like to be involved in planning to have a better and bigger impact on improving public transportation in our area, please email us or call 608-315-2693.

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Help us plan Transit Equity Day 2022

February 4 is Rosa Parks' birthday. For the past four years, thanks to the Labor Network for Sustainability, this date has been celebrated by transit advocates and agencies as TRANSIT EQUITY DAY. In 2020, a few people in La Crosse did some "Thank you, drivers!" sign waving at some bus stops. This year, the La Crosse MTU had a great action - roses on bus seats. and press event - that got excellent local media coverage.

We would like to make 2022 Transit Equity Day even bigger--widening the circle of those whose stories are told, including more communities in planning and programming, ensuring that we recognize the importance of dedicated, proactive administrators, drivers, and staff. 

Are you interested in being on a planning team for 2022 Transit Equity Day? If yes, please email us at OR call 608-315-2693 and leave a message for a call back.

COVID has put a real damper on our ability to program! Zoom meetings are just not easy or useful for networking and building relationships. And they are not useful for building a membership so we can have elections and build out our leadership team, either!

We hope to get back to in-person programs next year. In the meantime, here is an upcoming opportunity to connect online with other transit advocates from around the country.

Transportation for America (T4America) is holding its annual TRANSPORTATION CAMP on Saturday, January 8, ONLINE. There is a small registration fee, but the opportunity to learn from and network with others is well worth it. If you are tech savvy, you can volunteer for free registration. Learn more and register at:

Thursday, September 23, 2021

WisARP: October 23 in La Crosse

The Wisconsin Association of Rail Passengers (WisARP) will hold its annual fall meeting on Saturday, October 23 at La Crosse's Black River Beach Neighborhood Center, 1433 Rose Street, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. It will be possible to attend remotely, via Zoom, as well.

The main topic will be the second daily passenger rail line from Chicago to Saint Paul coming in 2024.

Registration is now open. The cost is $25 for adults and $5 for students ages 22 and younger. 

A LATA donor will pay the registration fees of up to 10 students. If you are interested, please email for details.

The second rail line is an example of perseverance and cooperation among states. The effort started in 2012 and has survived administration changes and budget challenges. Connection with WisARP and transportation advocacy groups can help us make good changes for everyone.

How could you use a second daily train?

Monday, September 20, 2021

World Car Free Day was established in 2000 by the World CarFree Network, a grassroots movement that aims to help people wake up to the social, economic, environmental, climate, and health effects cars have on people and our planet.

World Car Free Day is September 22 every year. Some communities hold events, contests, close streets, sponsor bike rides and bus events, and more. But the
Try one day a year  without a car. Then, try one day a month or a week. How about a whole year without a car? What are the benefits? What are the challenges? What are the opportunities?

Did you know that not driving a fossil-fueled car is the second most effective thing people can do to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions? Did you know the average cost to own and maintain a car in the U.S. is more than $9,200 per year? Did you know that biking, walking, and taking the bus can improve public health and community cohesion?

Our current systems and budgets are skewed to cars. Active transportation gets relatively little funding and consideration. But that can change!

La Crosse Area Transit Advocates encourages all of us to rethink our transportation choices and choose to walk, bike, or take the bus whenever possible. Make car travel your last choice. If you are a student, your ID is a bus pass. UWL students can also get a low-cost Green Bike from the OC.

La Crosse Area Transit Advocates is working to improve our local and regional public transportation system so more people will want to and can easily take the bus wherever and whenever they need to go. From help with reading the schedule to riding along with those new to the system, our members want to help and encourage more people to ride the bus and to advocate for the bus.

LATA will be on the UWL campus on World Car Free Day from 10:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. to table, along with the MTU. Take the opportunity to mention this important reminder that our actions have consequences and that we can change those actions.

Friday, August 13, 2021

Rail Passengers meetings this fall

From September 19 through 22, the Rail Passengers Association will hold an advocacy conference online. Registration is now open. Visit their website to register.

The annual RailNation event in DC has been postponed to 2022 because of the pandemic.

On October 23, the Wisconsin Association of Rail Passengers will hold their annual meeting in La Crosse! And a one year new membership is now free. Visit for more information.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Federal Transit Administration Public Listening Sessions


With traffic returning to America’s roads more people are riding public transportation nationwide. In some communities, transit ridership is up more than 80 percent over early 2020 levels. Join FTA all summer long in a national conversation about what’s working to help transit agencies across America renew ridership.

Listening Sessions:

  • Listening Session 1: 2-3:30 p.m. EDT, Friday July 30. This session will focus on best practices to renew ridership. Register | Agenda
  • Listening Session 2: 2-3:30 p.m. EDT, Friday, August 6. This session will focus on how improvements in safety can build public confidence in transit. Register
  • Listening Session 3: 2-3:30 p.m. EDT, Friday, August 13. This session will explore ways to increase ridership with a focus on building community partnerships. Register
  • National Transit Renewal Summit: 11 a.m. EDT, Friday, August 20. Register

FTA is committed to providing equal access to this session for all participants. If you need alternative formats, options or services, contact

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Rural public transit vital for Wisconsin seniors

This is a repost from our parent organization, Wisconsin Transit Riders Alliance:

To Wisconsin’s rural seniors, access to bus transit can be a lifeline

Wisconsin is getting older, with one in four Wisconsinites projected to be 65 years or older by 2030, a notably larger share of the population than the United States as a whole. As the state’s population changes, so will the needs of its residents, and Wisconsin will need to address the needs of its growing senior population.

One major issue facing elderly drivers concerns being able to do just so. While admittedly  a highly sensitive topic to discuss, the reality is that elderly drivers are disproportionally at risk of being involved in a fatal car accident, with one in seven victims of fatal vehicle accidents being seniors and fatality rates for drivers over the age of 85 being a whopping four times higher than those of  teenage drivers

Even in accidents that are non fatal to the driver, there is still the threat of both injury and death to fellow motorists and pedestrians, the latter of whom are at especially high risk. Pedestrian deaths have increased by 46% over the past decade, (compared to just 5% in all other automobile related fatalities) and elderly pedestrians are greatly overrepresented in pedestrian deaths, as nearly one in every five pedestrians killed are seniors.

Perhaps most disturbingly, Wisconsin’s pedestrian death rate increased by 69% from 2019 to 2020 alone the highest of all the Midwestern states and the fourth highest death rate in the country.  

Access to safe, reliable, and affordable public transit is critical for Wisconsin seniors now and in the not so distant future, as well as for others who lack access to a private vehicle or simply don’t wish to own one. And as more and more Wisconsin residents become seniors, they’ll still need to be able to access transportation to visit stores, see doctors, and enjoy activities within their community.

But despite this growing need, the majority of state transportation funding is still centered almost exclusively towards the needs of automobiles, with more than half of all transportation funding going to state highways, leaving just a paltry 5% for public transportation.

Furthermore, recent budget cuts have slashed public transit funding by 50% in both the Milwaukee and Madison regions,  exacerbating the issue further and earning the condemnation of The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), who claimed the decision to do so discriminated against those without access to a personal vehicle.

A lack of bus transit access puts an especially high burden on those living in rural parts of the state as older Americans as a whole are more likely to live in rural communities, a trend no different in Wisconsin, with 35% of all Wisconsin residents age 65 and older living in rural areas. Despite this, access to bus service is limited, if not nonexistent in much of rural Wisconsin and much of what is available is difficult and inconvenient for many seniors to use.

As a result, many senior Wisconsin drivers are forced to make a difficult decision: to keep driving at the risk of an accident or lose their independence. It’s not shocking that many refuse to let go of their keys, as many feel they have no other choice, especially for those living in rural areas with no or limited access to suitable public transportation.

And while the state of Wisconsin does run several bus lines, these buses are often limited in where they can go and can be difficult to access. Furthermore, bus service suffers from a lack of funding, with public transit in the state of Wisconsin receiving just a 1% annual increase in funding, in contrast to the 57% increase for highway funding.

Despite a clear need for bus service for Wisconsin’s elderly, the state has once again chosen to prioritize private cars at the cost of public safety and the wellbeing of the state’s seniors. It’s clear that unless significant changes are made to appropriately address the mobility concerns of seniors, the death rate for the elderly on Wisconsin roads will continue to climb and the quality of life will be greatly diminished.

It should be noted that access to bus transit does more than save lives, it enriches them. Being able to hop on a bus quickly and conveniently can be life changing for seniors who can no longer drive, allowing them to maintain both their independence and safety while still being a part of their community. Bus lines such as those run and maintained by the Terrace Height Retirement Community in Juneau county and Sauk County’s Aging and Disability Resource Center’s Transportation Unit provide these services to their respective communities at a low cost for those over the age of sixty and ensure they can easily access activities just as well as they can with a private automobile. With nearly half of older adults reporting they frequently feel lonely, being able to rely on bus service saves them from being forced to choose between risking their safety (and the safety of others) or being trapped in their own homes, isolated from others.

While the autocentric model of development and transit still reigns supreme, there are signs of improvement on the horizon, with ongoing efforts being made to make bus transit accessible to all. In southeastern Wisconsin, the Regional Transit Leadership Council is working to make bus service available for those living in communities with underdeveloped transit by 2022, an effort supported by the city of Franklin and The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp, among others. It’s among several new projects to increase bus transit availability in the state, action that is long overdue. And while much more needs to be done to address the transit needs of Wisconsin’s seniors both now and in the future, any step to increase availability is a step in the right direction.

Rachel Wick, July 8, 2021


Saturday, July 24, 2021

Mission accomplished!

Our very first Ride SMRT to Viroqua was a success! Six of us joined La Crosse Area Planning Committee transportation planner, Jackie Eastwood for a day trip to the land of quirky stores and local food. Participants visited Driftless Books and Music, the Viroqua Public Market, and the Vernon County Museum. One of our group was able to try out the Viroqua Taxi Service, too. In addition to interesting shops and exhibits, we also had wonderful, locally grown food. 

During our visit we were able to talk up the SMRT program with local merchants, letting them kow how much we appreciate the service. What if there were a Saturday SMRT bus that stopped at shopping and event locations, both in Viroqua and in La Crosse? We were also able to connect with some commuters during the return trip. 

Our next event will be an open house at the MTU Transit Center on World Car-Free Day, September 22. Stay tuned for more details and email if you'd like to help out.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Reminder! Ride SMRT to Viroqua, July 22

 Ride the Scenic Mississippi Regional Transit (SMRT) bus from La Crosse to Viroqua for a day of sight-seeing, shopping, dining, and exploring. We’ll leave mid-morning from La Crosse. Jackie Eastwood, Transportation Planner with the La Crosse Area Planning Committee, will join us to talk about the SMRT and answer questions.

We’ll arrive in Viroqua at about 11 a.m. and you will choose what to do, where to go, and how long to stay There are two return trip options which have you back in La Crosse between 4:30 and 6:00 p.m. LATA will provide trip participants with talking points, so we can be SMRT advocates, too!

The bus costs $3 cash each way - pay with exact change on the bus. Bring your own lunch or eat at a restaurant. Other expenses will depend on what you choose to do, including

  • Driftless Books & Music
  • The Vernon County Museum ($)
  • Ewetopia
  • Parrish Music
  • Paper, Scissors, Stone
  • Second Time Around
  • The Drifting Boutique
  • Jaali's Dollies
  • Viroqua Public Market
  • Viroqua Food Co-op
  • Thoreau’s Garden
  • Gary's Rock Shop
  • and more!

    Catch the SMRT Yellow Route to Viroqua:

    •   9:48 - UWL (State St shelter between Iguana’s and Newman Center)     
    •   9:54 - WTC (7th St. Academic Resources Center shelter)       
    • 10:03 - Mayo Clinic shelter near building                         
    • 10:08 - Gundersen Health (Founders’ Building entrance on 8th St.) 
    • 10:16 - Shopko South

    Return trip YOUR CHOICE:

    • Yellow Route leaves at 3:24 p.m., back in La Crosse 4:22 - 4:50 p.m. or
    • Blue Route leaves at 4:39 p.m., back in La Crosse 5:30 - 6:00 p.m.
    THERE WILL BE WALKING or wheeling!
    Wear comfortable walking shoes and dress for the weather.
    Masks are required on all public transportation.

    Sign up by July 20:

    Questions? or 608-315-2693

    Friday, July 9, 2021

    State transportation budget most harmful in a decade

    For Immediate Release: July 9, 2021

    Media contact: Gregg May, 1000 Friends of WI - Transportation Policy Director, 402-707-7379,

    State transportation budget is most harmful in a decade

    Transportation advocates condemn unprecedented cuts to Milwaukee and Madison transits stems while green-lighting the unnecessary I-94 E/W highway expansion project Governor Evers signed the 2021-23 biennial budget (2021 Wisconsin Act 58) on Thursday, which included a one-time 50% cut to the transit systems in Milwaukee and Madison over the next two years. 

    While the shortfall in transit funding may be filled by federal COVID relief funds, it is not guaranteed. 

    Additionally, the budget also funded the proposed $1.1 billion I-94 highway expansion in Milwaukee. This project will have significant impacts on the region’s population by creating new congestion and adding air pollution, while failing to help those who do not own a personal automobile or who are unable to drive.

    Organizations from the Coalition for More Responsible Transportation (CMRT) issued the following statements:

    “This transportation budget is devastating for all Wisconsinites,” said Gregg May, Transportation Policy Director at 1000 Friends of Wisconsin. “Wisconsin cannot continue to expand highways while gutting public transportation. It is bad for the environment, bad for transit riders, and bad for Wisconsin’s economic recovery. At a time when we should be making historic investments in transit to get people too jobs, we are doing the opposite. If these cuts cannot be filled with federal funds, it will lead to the largest disinvestment in public transit in a generation.”

    “The majority of this budget maintains the status quo, which means lead in drinking water, public lands strapped for funding, air pollution, barriers to clean energy and energy efficiency, and a transportation system that is not working for Wisconsin residents. However, the budget does even more damage than inaction. The transportation budget in particular is adding insult to injury,” said Elizabeth Ward, Chapter Director at Sierra Club - Wisconsin. “Public transportation is critical for stopping a climate catastrophe and is an essential form of transportation that provides access to jobs, recreation and other opportunities.”

    “The budget signed yesterday will slash transit funding in Milwaukee by 50% and fully fund a $1 billion, unnecessary highway expansion of I-94 (from 16th to 70th Streets). This budget is contrary to public opinion, damaging to the climate, and exposes our communities and environment to increased air and water pollution,” said Cheryl Nenn, Riverkeeper with Milwaukee Riverkeeper. “We should be working toward a greener, healthier, and more climate resilient future; this budget takes us backwards.”

    “The cuts to transit are a devastating blow to people of color, low-income people, the elderly, the disabled, and anyone who, for whatever reason, does not drive”, said Rabbi Bonnie Margulis, Executive Director of Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice. “Cutting transportation funding is short-sighted, as access to public transportation is one of the determinants of access to jobs, education, health care, and recreation, and therefore is a key driver of a robust economy. It is further short-sighted in reducing efforts to deal with climate change.”

    “Wisconsin needs better public transit, not bigger highways," said Tony Wilkin Gibart, Executive Director of Midwest Environmental Advocates, "The new transportation budget cuts public transit funding in Milwaukee and Madison and, instead, funds the I-94 highway expansion project which has not yet been thoroughly reviewed, updated to reflect recent data, or subject to meaningful public input. This proposal would increase our dependence on cars, add to greenhouse gas emissions, disproportionately hurt Milwaukeeans of color and cause significant harm to surrounding neighborhoods. We are disappointed that the biennial budget misses an important opportunity to prioritize climate-friendly solutions.”

    “Global warming is the most important challenge of our time and no investment should be made without considering it,” said Megan Severson, State Director for Wisconsin Environment. “Transportation is now the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in our country, and we need a comprehensive approach to reducing transportation’s impact on the global climate crisis. We can only do this by getting people out of their cars and onto cleaner options, like public transit or a bicycle.”

    “It’s clear from this latest budget that Wisconsin still has a misplaced appetite for costly, polluting and ineffective highway expansion projects,” said Susanna Cain, Transform Transportation Associate for WISPIRG. “COVID-19 has highlighted how stark our transportation needs truly are, especially for essential workers and low-income households without access to a car. Rather than cutting funding for public transportation and wasting money on highway boondoggles, we need to start using our taxpayer dollars more wisely by investing in public transit, walking and biking instead.”

    Wednesday, July 7, 2021

    MTU's Jon Williams

    From Adam Lorentz, MTU Director:

    I am saddened to inform everyone that one of our MTU employees, Jon Williams, has passed. 

    Jon was not only an amazing employee but more importantly an amazing person.  I recall many conversations on the weekend shifts with Jon regarding his passion of working on cars and the love he had for his children.

    Jon was a true team player, always helping out others with guidance over the radio.  It was also not uncommon to get a calling from a bus rider that wanted to share a good deed that Jon had done for them, always going the extra mile for his passengers.

    Jon will be deeply missed by his friends, family, fellow employees, and all of the passengers Jon has served over his time at the MTU.

    Thursday, July 1, 2021

    July 22 - Ride SMRT to Viroqua with LATA

    Ride the Scenic Mississippi Regional Transit (SMRT) bus from La Crosse to Viroqua for a day of sight-seeing, shopping, dining, and exploring. We’ll leave mid-morning from La Crosse. Jackie Eastwood, Transportation Planner with the La Crosse Area Planning Committee, will join us to talk about the SMRT and answer questions.

    We’ll arrive in Viroqua at about 11 a.m. and you will choose what to do, where to go, and how long to stay There are two return trip options which have you back in La Crosse between 4:30 and 6:00 p.m. LATA will provide trip participants with talking points, so we can be SMRT advocates, too!

    The bus costs $3 cash each way - pay with exact change on the bus. Bring your own lunch or eat at a restaurant. Other expenses will depend on what you choose to do, including

  • Driftless Books & Music
  • The Vernon County Museum ($)
  • Ewetopia
  • Parrish Music
  • Paper, Scissors, Stone
  • Second Time Around
  • The Drifting Boutique
  • Jaali's Dollies
  • Viroqua Public Market
  • Viroqua Food Co-op
  • Thoreau’s Garden
  • Gary's Rock Shop
  • and more!

    Catch the SMRT Yellow Route to Viroqua:

    •   9:48 - UWL (State St shelter between Iguana’s and Newman Center)     
    •   9:54 - WTC (7th St. Academic Resources Center shelter)       
    • 10:03 - Mayo Clinic shelter near building                         
    • 10:08 - Gundersen Health (Founders’ Building entrance on 8th St.) 
    • 10:16 - Shopko South

    Return trip YOUR CHOICE:

    • Yellow Route leaves at 3:24 p.m., back in La Crosse 4:22 - 4:50 p.m. or
    • Blue Route leaves at 4:39 p.m., back in La Crosse 5:30 - 6:00 p.m.
    THERE WILL BE WALKING or wheeling!
    Wear comfortable walking shoes and dress for the weather.

    Sign up by July 20:

    Questions? or 608-315-2693

    Wednesday, June 23, 2021

    Next stop - Viroqua!


    LATA is working on a special event for the end of July - a SMRT bus ride from La Crosse to Viroqua for a day of discovery, shopping, exploring, eating, and talking and learning about regional public transportation. 

    Details will be available by July 1 or sooner! Stay tuned!!

    Monday, June 14, 2021

    Bus rapid transit plans for Milwaukee

    From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

    Changes are coming to the Milwaukee County Transit System. Here is what you need to know.

    Despite a recent vote to cut state transit funding in Milwaukee, the county is working toward improving public transit systems. At a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday, city and state officials detailed their plan to create a transit service aimed at connecting residents throughout the county and improving transportation options for residents.


    Thursday, June 10, 2021

    Input for Transit Development Plan via Interactive Display

    If you have a friend (maybe yourself!) who would rather provide input via sticker dots than online survey, there is currently a display up at the La Crosse Public Library (Main Street) and one at the MTU Grand River Station.

    Friday, May 28, 2021

    Help plan the future of transit in our region!

    At their May 27 public input virtual open house, SRF Consultants introduced the next access points for public input into their Regional Transit Development (TDP) planning process for the La Crosse Area Planning Committee (LAPC). Please take advantage of these opportunities!

    From the Public Meetings and Materials web page:

    Help us shape the future of transit in the La Crosse region! This 10-minute survey is one part of the La Crosse Regional TDP, which will provide a vision for transit over the next ten years. The survey will help the planning team understand existing travel behavior, help create service recommendations and prioritization, and provide La Crosse Municipal Transit Utility, Onalaska Shared Ride, and Scenic Mississippi Regional Transit with customer service feedback. Please provide your input by taking this 10-minute community survey:

    Please help us spread the word by sharing this survey with your family, friends, colleagues, and networks. Responses will remain confidential and will not be shared or used for any other purposes.

    You may also leave specific comments on the map of this interactive website. Add your ideas to the map by clicking on “Add Comment” or “Add Bus Route.” You can zoom in or out on the map to place points or draw routes in specific locations in the community.

    More opportunities for public input are coming, including in-person events. You are also welcome to email. Again, from the LAPC TDP web page:

    We want to hear from you!

    • What do you like about existing transit service in the region?
    • What don't you like?
    • How can service be improved?
    • What do you want service to look like in 10 years?
    • If you're not a current transit user, what would encourage you to start using transit?

    If you couldn't make the May 27 meeting, you can view the presentation and its recording.

    Comments and questions can also be directed to project staff:

    Thursday, May 27, 2021

    Join Us - Members and Friends , June 22

    Our next Transit Talk! Tuesday, June 22 at 6:30 p.m. ONLINE.

    We tried to arrange an in-person event for June, but many places are not yet accepting groups. So, we will meet online on Tuesday, June 22 at 6:30 p.m. for a MEMBERS AND FRIENDS GET TOGETHER. Please join us!

    At this organizing meeting, we want to hear from YOU!

    • Why are you a transit advocate?
    • What would you most like LATA to focus on this year?
    • What changes would you love to see in La Crosse area public transportation?
    • What great ideas have you seen or experienced in other communities? 
    • Can you help us plan events, reach out to other advocates, connect with other communities, communicate and advocate?

    We'll gather your ideas, let you know how to formally join LATA, and event have some door prizes for those who show up!

    The event will be on ZOOM and access information will be emailed to those who register at

    See you there!

    Sunday, May 23, 2021

    Great video on why we need operations support for transit

    Here's a 2-minute video that beautifully illustrates the case for federal operations support for transit:

    See our previous post to take action.



    Saturday, May 22, 2021

    Advocate! Funding for transit operations!


    From Transportation for America:

    Tell Congress to fund transit operations. 

    For decades, the federal government has only provided funding for public transportation maintenance and infrastructure projects—not the day-to-day costs of running trains and buses. This has to change in order to create the equitable and sustainable transportation system necessary to connect everyone to opportunities.

    We urge Congress to include operating support for public transit in the next surface transportation authorization, the long-term law that determines how much we spend on transportation and what we spend it on. The current law, the FAST Act, expires this September, giving Congress a rare opportunity to fundamentally remake American transportation. 

    Send a message to Congress urging your representatives to support funding transit operations and funding transit and highways at the same level in the next long-term transportation law.

    Use Transportation for America's online tool to send a message right away. Then, call your representative and senators to tell them why this is important.


    Thursday, May 20, 2021

    Be a transit advocate! May 27 Open House!

    One of the most important ways individuals and households can reduce their greenhouse gas emissions is to stop driving fossil fueled vehicles. Using "active transit," walking, biking, or taking the bus, not only is major climate action, but it also makes for less congestion, healthier people, cleaner air, and a more equitable community.

    While our service is good for Wisconsin, it's not so great for those who don't live near a bus line, have to go places outside of service hours, or have other issues. This is a call to get involved in advocating for better bus service--more and more frequent service, more convenient routes, better connections.

    Not everyone can, should, or can afford to own and drive a car (the national average cost to own and maintain a vehicle is more than $9,000!) Should that relegate them to living half-lives, unable to go to an event because the bus has stopped running, unable to take a job because the bus doesn't go there, unable to visit friends because there's no service?

    Public transportation is vital to public and climate health, economic justice and equity, community cohesion and safety, access to jobs, services, and entertainment, and so much more.

    Here's a chance to be a transit advocate. Please take it.

    The La Crosse Area Planning Committee is embarking on a process to create a 10-year Regional Transit Development Plan, and your input is needed!

    A virtual open house will take place through Zoom on Thursday, May 27, 2021 at 5 p.m. to discuss future transit service improvements for La Crosse Municipal Transit Utility (MTU), Onalaska Shared Ride (OSR), and Scenic Mississippi Regional Transit (SMRT). We want to hear from the community – transit users and non-users alike – about how bus service could be improved, and what it should look like in the future. Please click the link below to register for the open house meeting.

    Register in advance for the open house on Thursday, May 27, 2021 at 5pm here:

    Passcode: LCRTDP

    The TDP will report existing conditions, public feedback, community needs, and recommendations for how the area transit operators should align services to meet the needs of a growing region. We want to hear about your experiences with La Crosse regional transit services and gather feedback on how we should prioritize service improvements.

    Share this open house invite with others in the La Crosse region! Please help us spread the word by sharing this open house invite with your family, friends, colleagues and networks.

    The project is an initiative of the La Crosse Area Planning Committee (LAPC). Visit for more information.


    Wednesday, May 19, 2021

    Thank you!

    Thanks to Mayor Mitch Reynolds and MTU Director Adam Lorentz for sharing an hour with local transit advocates on Tuesday evening. It was exciting to hear about the updates and improvements coming for the MTU including a cleaner fleet with new electric and hybrid vehicles and touchless fare pay options. It was also heartening to hear Mayor Mitch reiterate his strong support for public transportation and talk about why it's important for equity, economic health, and climate action. 

    We also heard from Menno Schukking, a consultant working with the La Crosse Area Planning Commission on the region's future transit plans. He invited us to attend the virtual open house on May 27 at 5 p.m. on Zoom (passcode: LCRTDP). 

    There were good questions from participants and we look forward to working to educate and motivate more area residents totale public transportation.

    If you missed the program, listen here (use passcode ViWZiYY2).

    Thanks to our co-sponsors, Coulee Region Sierra Club and Citizen Action of Wisconsin - Driftless Co-op.

    Our June program is still being planned. We are looking at an in-person member and friend event. More details will be available soon.

    Sunday, May 2, 2021

    UPDATED: May 18 Transit Talk with Mayor Reynolds and Adam Lorentz, MTU Director

    Join us ONLINE on Tuesday, May 18 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. for our next Transit Talk with La Crosse Mayor Mitch Reynolds and MTU director Adam Lorentz. We'll hear how COVID-19 affected the MTU; what's new as stimulus funds come to our area; what's planned for the future; and how the mayor, council and city can support and strengthen our public transportation system. Participants will have the chance to ask questions during the event.

    To get access information, please REGISTER at this link: ( or call 608-315-2693 (leave message for call back) for instructions about dialing in to participate by telephone.

    We are collecting ideas for future LATA programs and events, so if you have suggestions, would like to join the planning team, or have any other ideas to help make us better area transit advocates, please email us at or call 608-315-2693 (leave message for call back). 

    And, if you want to help make our organization stronger and more effective, please JOIN US!

    Co-sponsored by the Coulee Region Sierra Club,Citizen Action Driftless Co-op, and La Crosse Area Transit Advocates.

    Tuesday, April 27, 2021

    WHAT IF? - Neighborhood EcoPass

    Boulder, Colorado is leading the way in being a green, sustainable, renewable city. Transportation solutions include great public transportation and great access to affordable, convenient, why-use-anything-else? public transportation. 

    Have you seen a great public transportation idea in another city? Share it and we'll post it. We can improve if we don't have knowledge or what improvements are possible. We'll try to share weekly WHAT IF? posts to expand our universe of what could be. Please share your idea!

    From their website

    What is the Neighborhood EcoPass Program?

    The Neighborhood EcoPass Program increases access to transit, lowers single occupant vehicle use, saves money and enhances community relations. It is an annual transit pass purchased by residents or a neighborhood organization for all members of participating households. This photo I.D. smart card pass entitles holders to one year of unlimited travel on all RTD local, regional, airport bus and light/commuter rail routes. 

    Why sign up for the Neighborhood EcoPass Program?

    Nearly 50 neighborhoods in the City of Boulder participate in the Neighborhood EcoPass Program. These 50 neighborhoods accounted for over 7,000 households in 2019. Thousands more households in the City of Boulder are eligible to participate in the NECO Pass Program.

    Reduced Costs

    The annual transit pass cost under the Neighborhood EcoPass Program ranges based upon each neighborhood's amount of transit usage. The City of Boulder provide a 50% subsidy for first time participating neighborhoods and an ongoing 33%-39% subsidy for renewing neighborhoods. In comparison, the current cost for a years worth of RTD monthly passes is $1,368 for local trips and $2,400 for regional trips.

    Great Transit Options

    The transit pass is good on all RTD routes and services, including:

    • All local bus routes
    • All regional routes
    • All light rail lines
    • A Line to Denver International Airport (DIA)
    • Skyride to Denver International Airport (DIA)
    • The "N" route to Eldora Mountain Resort

    Healthier Community

    Neighborhoods that participate in the Neighborhood EcoPass Program have reported a dramatic increase in transit use. Residents with a pass in hand drive less, which results in less congestion and pollution in our community.

    Read more about this great idea at the Boulder, Colorado Neighborhood EcoPass web page.


    Saturday, March 27, 2021

    April 17 - WTRA Annual Meeting

    You are invited to attend the Wisconsin Transit Riders Alliance annual meeting on Saturday, April 17 from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. ONLINE. The program will focus on rural and urban public transit in Wisconsin with opening remarks by Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes followed by a panel discussion with State Senator Brad Pfaff (32nd District - Onalaska) and State Representative Sylvia Ortiz-Velez (12th District - Milwaukee). There will be time for questions and answers for Lt. Gov. Barnes and for the panelists.

    It's very important for transit advocates to take every opportunity to talk with our elected leaders about the importance of public transportation for equity, jobs, economic fairness, environment and more. We need to stress the importance of a modernized and well-connected transportation system. Turning out in numbers to events like this meeting will show elected officials that this is a big deal that is important to a lot of people.


    WTRA is a statewide network of local and regional public transportation advocacy groups including La Crosse Area Transit Advocates. Membership in LATA includes membership in WTRA. Please join LATA to strengthen public transportation advocacy locally and around the state at

    Friday, March 19, 2021

    Thank you Senator Pfaff!

    Thank you. Senator Brad Pfaff for joining us for our first ever online Transit Talk. We look forward to working with you on building up public transportation in our area and region through the budget process and beyond. We know you will be a strong advocate for public transportation in your work with the State Legislature and the Governor. A recording of the session is available at this link (use password: uUuMGGE6 )

    We mentioned some upcoming events. Here are the links:

    March 27 from 9 a.m. to noon: WisARP meeting including discussion of second train and improvements to Empire Building in Wisconsin. More information and registration here: (By the way, the October WisARP meeting is scheduled to be held in La Crosse. More details when they are available.)

    Drift Bike Share is starting up in La Crosse on April 1. This bike-share program will help solve the "last mile" challenge connecting people taking public transportation to jobs, shopping, entertainment, and dining in the downtown area. More information here:

    April 17 from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m.: Wisconsin Transit Riders Alliance meeting with program on Wisconsin Public Transit Rural and Urban. Register for the online event at

    Here are links Sen. Pfaff's office sent that have information about the Governor's budget with respect to public transportation:

    Senator Pfaff talked about the importance of attending budget listening sessions to advocate for public transportation. Here are some sessions we know of. All are ONLINE.

    March 22 at 4:30 p.m. Join Sen. Brad Pfaff, Rep. Jill Billings, and Rep. Steve Doyle for a Virtual Budget Listening Session! Register for the link at

    March 30 at 6:00 p.m. Governor Evers will host a Badger Bounceback Budget Listening Session on Transportation and Infrastructure which will include break-out rooms with opportunities to give input directly to his staff. Register here:

    April 21 at 6:00 p.m. Governor Evers will host a Badger Bounceback Budget Listening Session on Climate Change and the Environment which certainly is a reason to strengthen public transportation support and funding. Register here: 

    April 28 at 10:00 a.m. The online hearing for the State Legislature's Joint Finance Committee about the budget. If you sign up to testify, you will have TWO MINUTES to make your point so you can be most effective by writing up your testimony in advance or at least noting three or four main points you want to cover. Your testimony will be most effective if it is respectful and from your own experience and heart. The registration link isn't up yet, but you can check this site for updates:  If the virtual hearing is like the in-person ones, people are called to testify in the order in which they register. There are some in-person hearings but the closest to La Crosse is in Menomonie.

    For overall information about commenting on the budget, visit this resource page:

    Check back for more information on testifying before the JFC and submitting online comments.

    We had more questions than time. If yours wasn't asked, if you thought of a new one based on the program discussion, or if you'd like to provide more information about a topic, please email him at

    Thank you again, Senator Pfaff!

    Wednesday, March 17, 2021

    Public transportation input and events

    Remember to register for Thursday's (March 18) Transit Talk with Senator Brad Pfaff. It starts at 6 p.m. and it's online (or by phone dial-in), so you will need to register for access information at Thanks to co-sponsors, Citizen Action of Wisconsin Driftless Co-op, Coulee Region Sierra Club, and La Crosse MTU.

    On March 27, Wisconsin Association of Rail Passengers (WisARP) is holding its annual meeting ONLINE from 9 a.m. to noon. They will discuss the latest Amtrak and WisDOT news. Speakers will include Arun Rao, Passenger Rail Manager for WisDOT. The meeting will focus on the second train Chicago – Milwaukee – St. Paul, and restoration of Hiawatha and Empire Builder service post-COVID-19. Please register for access information.

    On March 30, consider signing up to participate in a Badger Bounceback Budget Listening Session on Transportation and Infrastructure. The program starts at 6 p.m. and will include information on the Governor's transportation budget proposals and break-out sessions for public input. You must register for access information.

    On April 17, from 10 to 11:30 a.m., the Wisconsin Transit Riders Alliance will hold its annual meeting online. The program, Public Transit in Rural and Urban Wisconsin, will include opening remarks by Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes followed by a panel discussion with Senator Brad Pfaff and Representative Sylvia Ortiz-Velez from Milwaukee. There will be Q&A sessions after each section. Please help spread the word about this event! To register, please visit or

    Also, this year's Earth Fair is cancelled, BUT, there will be VIRTUAL EARTH WEEK from April 19 through 25. LATA is an organizational co-sponsor.