On the same day he signed an executive order designed to get even with Twitter for fact-checking his frequent Twitter lies, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to randomly announce $40.9 million in federal funding for Milwaukee’s East-West Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line. Huh.
I’m proud to commit $40.9M in @USDOT funding to Milwaukee’s East-West Bus Rapid Transit project. Bringing modern transit to the region’s most critical corridor and spur millions in economic development. Love Wisconsin! @RideMCTS
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 28, 2020
What is BRT? The BRT website explains:
East-West Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is Milwaukee County’s planned 9-mile, regional, modern transit service connecting major employment, education and recreation destinations through downtown Milwaukee, Milwaukee’s Near West Side, Marquette University, Wauwatosa and the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center. BRT would provide improved access to the region’s most vital, most traveled and most congested corridor.
Features of the new line include up to 19 new stations, hybrid electric buses, dedicated lanes, fewer stops, and service “every 10 minutes during peak hours and midday, and every 20-30 minutes in early morning, evening and late night.”
Urban Milwaukee also explains that the new line “would operate on a number of city streets,” and that “dedicated lanes would be created on a stretch of W. Wisconsin Ave. and stations would be installed on city-owned land.”
The total cost of the project is $54 million, as explained by the BRT website:
The BRT capital cost is estimated at approximately $54 million. The financial plan for the project anticipates the capital cost may be funded up to 80 percent through the federal Small Starts program, which requires a minimum local match of 20 percent. The MCTS submitted its Small Starts application to the Federal Transit Administration in early September 2017.
Accounting for systemwide MCTS operating improvements, the new BRT service will add about 1 percent to MCTS’s overall operating and maintenance costs. Operations will be funded as part of existing MCTS’ service, which bus fares, advertising and sponsorships, state and federal funding, and a local tax levy provide.
“Milwaukee County is tremendously appreciative to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and President Donald Trump for their commitment to fund the East-West Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project,” reads a statement from the Milwaukee County Transit System.
Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley also expressed his approval.
“As this first-of-its-kind project moves forward,” Crowley says in a statement, “it will strengthen the entire transit network and aid in achieving opportunity and racial equity in a way that moves Milwaukee County closer to achieving its vision of becoming the healthiest County in the state.”
Milwaukee wasn’t the only unsuspecting beneficiary of Trump’s Twitter account. Trump announced federal funding for other public transit projects in Utah, Pennsylvania, Oregon, New York, Indiana, Florida, and Arizona. Huh.