Whitewater OKs bus route

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Friday, April 6, 2012
— A proposed bus route from Janesville to Whitewater through Milton received unanimous approval Thursday by the Whitewater City Council—with some reservations.

The route was created primarily to serve Whitewater’s Generac plant. Company officials said they plan to hire 300 additional employees and are concerned they might not be able to attract workers from the Janesville-Milton area without mass transit options.

Despite the 7-0 vote to proceed with a pilot project from April 30 to the end of the year, the council expressed concerns regarding funding.

“We want the bus service, but it’s a matter of who is paying for it and does everyone have an investment in it,” said council President Patrick Singer. “For example, Generac, the city of Whitewater and UW-Whitewater are committing, but there are no costs assigned to Janesville and Milton.”

Singer said he would not hold up the project, but “moving forward, these are some issues to address.”

A cost breakdown provided by Janesville Transit System Director Dave Mumma shows 53 percent of the cost covered by state and federal funding, 32 percent from Generac, Whitewater and UW-Whitewater, and the remaining 15 percent from fare revenue. Janesville and Milton aren’t assigned any costs.

Janesville is providing the buses, with the cost of operating them included in the total price tag. The Janesville Transit System quoted a “fully burdened” cost per hour of $94, which covers the $128,310 total cost.

Whitewater officials said Janesville and Milton will have to help pay for the plan.

“If it would be decided to continue the service in 2013, I have informed both Janesville and Milton that they would be expected to contribute to the local sponsorship costs,” Whitewater City Manager Kevin Brunner said in a memo to the council.

“We would hope that during this pilot project more businesses would get involved as well to help spread the cost more,” Singer said.

The services will feature round trips from Janesville through Milton to Whitewater with the following stops:

-- The Janesville Mall

-- Van Galder Bus Depot, Janesville

-- Pine Tree Plaza, Janesville

-- Walmart, Janesville

-- Milton Piggly Wiggly

-- Downtown Whitewater

-- UW-Whitewater

-- Whitewater University Technology Park, including the Generac plant

Proposed fares are $1.90 from Janesville to Milton, $2.50 Milton to Whitewater and $4 from Janesville to Whitewater. Buses are scheduled to leave Janesville at 5 a.m., 1 p.m. and 9 p.m. to serve Generac’s three shifts beginning at 6 a.m., 2 p.m. and 10 p.m.

The three trips each day are Monday through Friday. One Sunday trip is included in the plan to serve the Generac third shift, which begins the company’s workweek.

Last updated: 8:12 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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