Public transit continues to play an important role in the state
and local transportation scene. Wisconsin’s
81 public transit systems
in both urban and rural areas rank among the nation’s best
in terms of efficiency and effectiveness, connecting thousands of
state residents to jobs, schools and other destinations.
Approximately 48% of Wisconsin transit riders are headed to work,
23% to school, 18% to retail, tourism or recreational destinations,
and 10% to health care destinations. A study conducted in 2002 and
updated in 2004 found that public transit saves Wisconsin riders and
taxpayers an estimated $730.2 million annually – $597 million in out
of savings to transit riders, which is then reinvested in the state’s
economy, and savings of $74.3 million in public assistance spending
and $58.9 million in home health care costs. In addition, a cost
benefit analysis showed that investing in transit would produce a
return of over $3 for each dollar invested. Additional information
about the benefits of public transportation
is available on this web site.
The following state and federal funding programs can assist local governments and transit
with operating and/or capital expenses to support public
transportation services such as buses, vans and shared-ride taxi
A federally-funded grant program that assists transit systems in
large communities (populations over 200,000) with capital expenditures. Transit systems in urban
areas with populations between 50,000 and 200,000 may utilize the
funds for capital or operating assistance.
A federally-funded discretionary capital grant program available
to assist transit systems with capital project costs. Eligible
applicants include states, local public bodies, or
federally-recognized Native American tribal governing bodies.
Allocates federal funds to local public bodies or Native American
tribes. The funds are to support capital and operating expenses for
public transportation services that operate or are designed to
operate in non-urbanized areas under 50,000 in population.
Assists transit systems with operating costs. Eligible applicants
include municipalities with populations greater than 2,500 including
counties, municipalities and towns – along with transit or
transportation commissions or authorities. Eligible public
transportation services include bus, shared-ride taxicab, rail or
other conveyance either publicly or privately owned.
A federally funded program that provides operating and planning funds for public transit projects in non-urbanized areas. Eligible applicants include local public bodies or federally-recognized Native American tribal governing bodies.
An effort to connect low-income workers with jobs through
enhanced local transportation services, WETAP integrates local,
state and federal funding into a single program and award process
administered jointly by WisDOT and the state Department of Workforce
You will need the Adobe Reader (provided free of charge) to view PDF files. For more information
about getting your free copy of the Adobe Reader, visit WisDOT's Software information page.