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Bus rapid transit should extend to Franklin business park, mayor says

Milwaukee County is planning on building the $148 million rapid bus line along 27th Street between Bayshore in Glendale and Northwestern Mutual's Franklin campus, and the Ikea store in Oak Creek.
milwaukee county transit authority
Posted at 1:00 PM, Sep 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-20 14:00:24-04

FRANKLIN, Wis. — The mayor of Franklin, Wisconsin, Steve Olson, wants a new bus rapid transit service to go all the way to a business park where Saputo Cheese USA is aiming to create more than 600 jobs.

That's instead of the rapid bus line stopping about four miles to the north of the business park, our partners at the Milwaukee Business Journal reported.

The details of the bus rapid transit service, or BRT, were released a few days ago.

Milwaukee County is planning on building the $148 million rapid bus line along 27th Street between Bayshore in Glendale and Northwestern Mutual's Franklin campus, and the Ikea store in Oak Creek.

Mayor Olson argues if the bus line went just a few miles farther, it would help carry people working at the upcoming Saputo Cheese USA plant. That facility is planned at a Franklin-supported business park at 27th and Oakwood Road.

“What is the rationale and justification for absolutely ignoring thousands of job opportunities that are real for a few jobs at Ikea. I need to know so that I can answer my constituents of why, again, we’re being ignored," Olson told Milwaukee County officials in an email, according to the BizJournal.

Olson estimates the Saputo plant will create 650 jobs. Wangard Partners and HSA Commercial Real Estate are also planning on hiring at the business park, so the 650 could increase to upwards of 1,000 people.

Extending the line to the Franklin business park would increase the project's price tag by almost $16 million.

Some more numbers:

  • that's a 17-percent increase in annual operating costs
  • which will help generate 3-6 percent more rides
  • for about 300-600 more rides per day

That's all according to the executive director of the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, Kevin Muhs, the BizJournal reports.

Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley told the news outlet that while he hasn't discussed the extension, “Anything that is going to connect more people to as many jobs as possible is something we are always willing to work with, and figure out how we can make this work."

If the extension doesn't work out, FlexRide is another option. It's a ridesharing service that is giving rides to Milwaukee residents to their jobs at business parks in Menomonee Falls and Butler. Franklin officials are in talks to extend the FlexRide service to their city.

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