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Out of lawsuit, Tosa could see new bus routes

May 20, 2014

New bus routes between the city of Milwaukee and outer parts of Milwaukee County are on the way after the state Department of Transportation announced a settlement Monday, May 19, in a lawsuit filed by the Black Health Coalition of Wisconsin and the Milwaukee Inner-city Congregations Allied for Hope.

The suit accused the department of discriminating against urban communities of color by spending about $1.7 billion on reconstructing the Zoo Interchange without adding mass transit options.

Peg Schmitt, public affairs director for the DOT, could not say whether any of the routes would run through Wauwatosa, which is bearing a load of the construction work around the interchange. But in a news release, the department said the new routes were intended to "alleviate traffic congestion during construction."

DOT Regional Communications Manager Michael Pyritz said the route locations would be determined by the organizations that filed the suit.

"We're going to be the one with the checkbook," Pyritz said. "Where they put them will be up to them."

Although the DOT news release said the agreement is awaiting final signatures, the terms include a $11.5 million budget over four years for bus routes between the city of Milwaukee and "outer county locations."

The agreement also requires the department to spend $2 million over four years to provide information about the routes, like real-time travel information and public outreach, according to the release.

Officials with the Black Health Coalition of Wisconsin and the Milwaukee Inner-city Congregations Allied for Hope could not be immediately reached for comment.

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