Thursday, February 9, 2023

Thank you! Transit Equity Days

Thank you to everyone who helped or participated in this year's Transit Equity Day!

We had some wonderful opportunities to bring this important issue to the front of the conversation and point out how connected it is to almost everything, including climate action, jobs and education, access to health care and services, and communities' and families' finances.

Thanks to local transit advocates who helped make everything happen: Avery, Bridget, Cathy, Joella, Kevin, Liz, Obbie, RoZ, and Sandy. Also thank you to La Crosse labor leader Terry Hicks for allowing us to include highlights of his book, We Walk: A History of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 519, at the Transit Center display.

Thank you to co-sponsors and supporters, including Citizen Action of Wisconsin Driftless Co-op, Coulee Region Sierra Club, the La Crosse MTU, Onalaska Holmen West Salem Shared Ride Taxi, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, Scenic Mississippi Regional Transit, and the Sustainability Institute. And thanks to Western Technical College, the MTU, and the La Crosse Public Library for hosting TED displays.

Mayor Reynolds' TED proclamation, press event
Thank you to elected and community leaders who rode or will ride (we have to reschedule some rides because of illness or other schedule disruptions) or attended the February 1 press event: State Senator Brad Pfaff; La Crosse Mayor Reynolds; Onalaska Mayor Kim Smith; County Board Chair Monica Kruse; La Crosse County Board members Randy Erickson, Maurine Freedland, Ralph Geary, and David Pierce; La Crosse City Council members Doug Happel, Barb Janssen, Christine Kahlow, Mark Neumann, Rebecca Schwarz, and Jennifer Trost; Onalaska City Council members Larry Jiracek, Leanne Stokes, and Diane Wulf, ATU 519 president Todd Strasser, and La Crosse Neighborhoods leader Jim Bagniewski.(Apologies if we missed anyone! Email and we will update!)

Electeds on the bus!
We are grateful for excellent reporting on the events and the issues raised:

Thanks to those who shared their transit rider stories, through the online form, the paper forms, or social media. We hope to have a new Transit Tales page available at this site by February 12. Please check back! 

 If you missed Transit Equity Day programs, you can watch them here:

If you have comments about this year's event or suggestion for next year or if you would like to help plan future local events with La Crosse Area Transit Advocates, please email us at or call 608-315-2693. 

Finally, if you are a transit rider or advocate, please consider becoming an official member of our group, so we can provide more education, more advocacy, and more support for great public transportation in our area.

Governor Evers' proclamation

Mayor Reynolds' proclamation

TED 23 display at La Crosse Public Library

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Bus reading

Today while you are riding the bus (SMRT is free today too!), please read this great essay, The Power of Public Transit in Social Justice. As we heard last night from Susan Gaeddert, many people do not necessarily connect public transit and reducing carbon emissions. But that's not the only connection to transit that many miss or misunderstand.

This essay talks about public transit and social justice. 

Although the majority of Americans commute to work by car, 21 per cent of urban residents use public transit on a regular basis. However, commuters vary substantially by race and income. In US cities, 34 per cent of Black people and 27 per cent of Hispanic people rely on public transit as their main method of transportation, compared to only 15 per cent of white urban residents.

And, in this piece, 6 Ways to Advance Equity in Public TransportationAmanda Merck looks at how, sometimes, the wrong things are prioritized which can end up making  matters worse. 

State and federal tax dollars often pay for projects that widen gaps in access to transportation options for low-income people and people of color.

Transit projects too often focus on economic development and property values.

Moreover, when it comes to equity policy, transit agencies are often only tasked with limiting further harm to people of color─rather than advancing equity.

And, if you have your earbuds along, check out this recorded Transit Chat from Transportation Choices, Transit Funding is Transit Equity.

In this Transit Chat series, we will explore how transit funding is the foundation for transit equity. How are transportation projects currently funded on federal, state, and local levels? How do we secure transit funding to ensure we are moving towards an equitable future (a future that gives everyone the freedom and ability to get where they need to go in an affordable and reliable manner)? And how do we get to a future where fares are free, transit is abundant and ubiquitous, and communities are connected to opportunities to work, play, and thrive?