Gov. Jim Doyle on Thursday announced $37.5 million in Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality awards that will help 25 transportation-related projects in southeastern Wisconsin that don’t meet federal ozone requirements.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation administers CMAQ to improve public transit services and traffic flow, and encourage use of bicycle and pedestrian facilities.
Four awards will be used to invest in public transportation, according to a release from the governor’s office.
Milwaukee County was awarded near one-quarter of the available money.
The most substantial award handed out went toward initial development efforts on a Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee commuter rail link. The $9 million is expected to cover the upgrade and rehabilitation of existing tracks along a 33-mile extension from Kenosha to Milwaukee, as well as the installation of new tracks and train signals.
The Milwaukee County Transit System received $6.4 million of the necessary $8 million to create its 12-mile, 56-station bus rapid transit line. The system will operate along West Fond du Lac, National and Greenfield avenues into and out of downtown Milwaukee.
A $2.4 million CMAQ grant will also help the Milwaukee County Parks Department buy the abandoned Union Pacific Railroad corridor to be converted into a 3.1-mile paved, multiuse trail.
The city of Kenosha will expand an electric streetcar system with its $4.2 million award.
Nine communities are receiving awards for bicycle and pedestrian trail system construction, expansions and enhancements. The city of Two Rivers will use its $488,240 award for the Eastside Bicycle and Pedestrian Trail, according to the release.
The village of Mount Pleasant is installing bike lanes running along Oakes Road and Southern Frontage Road while adding to the Pike River Pathway with its award of $207,466.
Other improvements supported by CMAQ awards include improvements to more than 130 traffic signals and a Clean Fuel Emissions Initiative in the city of Milwaukee.
WisDOT is also providing CMAQ money for two marketing projects that will raise awareness about alternative transportation and its benefits to southeastern Wisconsin citizens.
In Wisconsin, CMAQ money provides up to 80 percent of project costs, with project sponsors investing the remainder. WisDOT has distributed about $140 million in federal CMAQ awards in Wisconsin since 1998, according to the release.