Development policies in the Milwaukee metro area — formerly the fiefdom of transportation two-face Scott Walker, who was a Milwaukee county executive before he was the train-hatin’ governor of Wisconsin — are set up to encourage sprawl. That sucks for the obvious reasons (bad for the environment, forces car-reliance, etc.). But two new analyses suggest that the effect is even further-reaching. Setting up improved public transport could make Milwaukee more financially stable, and more ethnically diverse.
From the Huffington Post:
The financial crisis and economic downturn put millions of Americans out of work. Now, those same forces are making the job search even more difficult by weakening a vital link between workers and workplaces — public transportation. Milwaukee has reached a point at which cuts, necessitated by a weak economy, make the local economy even weaker.
Nationwide, blacks have been concentrated in the inner city, far away from where new jobs are created. Yet the case of Milwaukee is extreme: 90 percent of the metro area's black population lives in the city. Making matters worse, suburban whites are notably hostile to building any form of public transit to connect city people to suburban jobs, further exacerbating segregation's ill effects.
If you're wondering if this can somehow, some way, be blamed on union-busting Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, the answer is yes. Walker took the lead in a campaign against public transit to connect the suburbs to the city during his time as county executive. He thought the funds would be better spent on highways.