Wisconsin’s efforts to attract young workers from Chicago seems to be falling flat. One reason may be that the target audience prefers transit to driving, and other decisions by the state have undercut transportation options that Millenials find appealing.
The transportation record of a prominent presidential candidate is the jumping off point for a lengthy, critical report on American transportation policy in Politico last week. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker recently proposed to dramatically increase borrowing in order to support several highway megaprojects in southern Wisconsin. But the Politico article points out that the size of the budget is not the only, or even the most important, issue—both in Wisconsin and in Washington.
A study done by Cambridge Systematics for NCHRP Project 20-65 examined the indirect economic benefits to society of state investment in public transportation. The study found there are substantial cost savings to other government programs due to increased access to jobs, health care, and education. In many economic impact analyses, these indirect benefits are less well-documented than job creation through capital and operational spending, effects on local development patterns, and direct benefits to riders such as cost or time savings leading to increased productivity.