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Whitewater to vote on bus plan

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STANLEY B. MILAM
April 5, 2012
— The Whitewater City Council will vote tonight about whether the city will participate in a pilot project supplying bus service between Janesville and Whitewater through Milton.

Whitewater City Manager Kevin Brunner is asking the council to approve participating in the $128,000 project that would provide service between the three communities from April 30 until the end of the year. The city of Whitewater's share of the cost is $7,500.


Janesville proposed service to Whitewater through Milton in 2010, but the plan was turned down by UW-Whitewater students who would have been assessed a $5 per semester fee. Whitewater manufacturer Generac renewed interest in the bus line earlier this year.


"Generac initiated these discussions on the heels of their announcement that they would be creating 300 new jobs at its Whitewater facility," Brunner said in a memo to the council.


"They are concerned about their ability to grow here in Whitewater without having a commuter service available to bring employees from these areas to Whitewater."


Brunner said Generac has agreed to assume $26,058 of the sponsor share of the commuter bus service while UW-Whitewater and the city of Whitewater would pay $7,500 each.


State and federal funding and fare revenues would cover the rest of the costs.


The plan calls for three round trips per day Monday through Friday and one trip on Sunday. The routes would be timed to meet the three Generac shifts at 6 a.m., 2 p.m. and 10 p.m.


The trips would leave downtown Janesville each day, Monday through Friday at 5 a.m., 1 p.m. and 9 p.m. Those trips would arrive at Generac at 5:50 a.m., 1:50 p.m. and 9:50 p.m. Whitewater stops also are scheduled for the Conner University Center and downtown Whitewater.


The Milton Piggly Wiggly stops would be at 5:25 a.m., 1:25 p.m. and 9:25 p.m.


The Sunday schedule calls for one evening trip.


The fares are set at $1.90 from Janesville to Milton, $2.50 from Milton to Whitewater and $4 from Janesville to Whitewater.


The entire route has stops at: The Janesville Mall, Van Galder Bus depot, Pine Tree Plaza and Walmart in Janesville; the east side business district in Milton; downtown Whitewater, UW-Whitewater Conner University Center and the Whitewater University Technology Park, where Generac is located.


The plan has been presented to the Janesville City Council, but no action has been taken. Brunner said UW-Whitewater Chancellor Richard Telfer is on board with the plan as long as it includes a stop on campus.


Telfer was not available for a comment on this story.


"Local government does not create jobs through its efforts, however, municipalities do have a vital role in supporting job creation and fostering business expansion wherever it can," Brunner said.


"This situation is a perfect example of that."



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