Citizen Wausau

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A Step Backwards

by on March 7th, 2011

Over the past year, we have heard tales of “branding.” County Board Supervisor Steve Immel has a group. Weston came up with a viral Step into Weston thing and branding is everywhere.  I remember reading that the Wausau Region Chamber of Commerce spent over $100,000 with some company in some other state.  I have no idea what Weston spent.  But, tonight Weston voted to discontinue its bus service, ending public transit to the Village of Weston.  And if I may steal a line from Jerry Melvin, they are making it harder for folks to Step into Weston.

I stonglly oppose this decision.  I am a Weston resident and an active bus rider.  I buy a monthly pass every month, whether I am riding the bus or not, and for one entire month of the year, I use the bus as my tool for commuting across town to work.  I am a regular rider of the bus.  Public transit is something that we even created a project about a while back, the Tweetbus Project.  We rode every route, all day on a Saturday.  I care about public transit.

The idea is that the budget cannot sustain $100 grand for a bus route used by only a few people.  Maybe.  I find that hard to believe.  The Village of Weston brings in X dollars in tax revenue each year and allocates the money according to need.  Deleting the line for bus service tells us the Village of Weston Board does not view mass transit as something important, or of value.  Many people feel this way as well, but I disagree.

I understand the position that no one rode it.  That it was not self-sustaining.  Neither is the Weston Dog Park and I am pretty sure that the hockey rink does not pay for itself, nor does the park across from Iozzo’s, and I am not sure the Aquatic Center is self-sustaining.  And those things do not transport people to hospitals to receive their medical care.  If we sold off the parks, maybe the tax base would be increased, and then we could afford public transit.  And that is a joke.

Tonight, the Village of Weston board chose to eliminate public transit.  Public transit, in my opinion is a part of every city that is of value, growing and thriving.  Public transit is something that we should not part with.  In every city I have ever lived in, public transit is something that young professionals embrace.  YOUNG PROFESSIONALS.

Weston talks a lot about quality of life.  And a choice like this is a step backward to a car culture.  Isolated.  There is a lot to embrace in Weston.  I think the dog park is the best thing about the state of Wisconsin.  I love the bike lanes on Ross Avenue.

But, the Village of Weston just made it harder to Step Into Weston tonight.  And that is shame.

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