Vice President Harris visits Madison bus hub under construction with infrastructure grant - TAI News
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Vice President Kamala Harris visited Madison, Wisconsin, on March 7 and spoke at the site of the future Metro Transit Hanson Road Satellite Facility, which is currently under construction east of Dane County Regional Airport. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that President Joe Biden signed into law in 2021 provided the bulk of the funds for the project, which will be used to meet the city’s growing need for public transportation.

“The work that is happening here really is a wonderful example of so many of our administration’s priorities, including the important collaboration between us at the federal level and leaders at the local level, like the mayor of Madison, because this work that we see behind us is a function of that partnership around how we can get federal dollars out to local governments and local communities in a way that they, then, invest in the talent of the community,” Harris said.

The Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration announced a $110 million grant for Madison in November 2023. The funds were earmarked for a 15-mile rapid transit bus route that will provide service to locations throughout Madison, including the University of Wisconsin. The service will utilize zero-emission battery-powered buses that will travel in a dedicated traffic lane.

The facility that Harris visited will be used as a maintenance hub for those buses. Construction on the building began on Feb. 14 with a groundbreaking ceremony attended by Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway.

“We wouldn’t be able to do this work, and really any of the work that we’re doing at Metro to bring a better and stronger transit system to Madison without the support of the Federal Transportation Authority and Secretary Pete Buttigieg at the U.S. DOT, and then of course President Biden, who has made these funds available through the bipartisan infrastructure law,” Rhodes-Conway said at the event.

Madison’s city-owned Metro Transit said that the East Washington bus service facility was originally built to accommodate 160 buses but currently services 190 vehicles. Justin Stuehrenberg, general manager of the transit service, said in a blog post that the new facility would allow transit to operate at full capacity. Construction of the new building is projected to be completed in fall 2024.

Republicans in Wisconsin’s congressional delegation opposed the infrastructure law that is supporting construction of the new facility when the bill was being debated in Congress.

Sen. Ron Johnson described the infrastructure bill in August 2021 as part of Democrats’ “radical tax-and-spend agenda” and ultimately voted against it, as did Wisconsin’s Republicans in the House.

Wisconsin Democrats in Congress backed the bill, including Sen. Tammy Baldwin, who touted the legislation at the time as a boon to Wisconsin interests.

“The Senate has finally turned the ‘Infrastructure Week’ talk of the past into real action today by getting the job done and passing bipartisan legislation that will help build a stronger economy and make a real difference in the lives of Wisconsin working families,” Baldwin said in a statement.Wisconsin Democrats unanimously voted for the bill.

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