Public Policy Forum Blog

The People Speak: Citizens' views on transportation, education reform, taxation

The second installment of the results of the autumn People Speak poll, conducted in partnership with the University of Wisconsin--Milwaukee's Center for Urban Initiatives and Research and The Business Journal Serving Greater Milwaukee, focuses on public policy issues such as mass transit and mayoral takover of MPS.

The People Speak is a tracking poll that will be conducted at regular intervals throughout the year. Its purpose it to gather information from local citizens about their interests in, preferences for, and concerns about public policy. By gathering and reporting out these citizen perspectives, the partners hope to expand the public voice in policy matters affecting Greater Milwaukee.

Highlights from the most current Research Brief include:

  • A majority of residents of southeastern Wisconsin favor high speed rail connecting Chicago, Milwaukee and Madison, as well as commuter rail connecting Racine, Kenosha, and Milwaukee. A downtown streetcar line in the City of Milwaukee is less favorable, but still garners support from half of Milwaukee County residents.
  • When it comes to funding transportation improvements, toll roads have the most support, with about half of all residents in favor. Increasing the gasoline tax is not favored by most residents, nor is the creation of a regional transit authority funded by an increased sales tax.
  • A mayoral takeover of the Milwaukee Public Schools is favored by 43% of poll participants in the region. The level of support among City of Milwaukee residents is the same--43%. The greatest support comes from Democrats, 50% of whom are in favor of the idea.
  • Establishing a regional authority to oversee parks and cultural facilities for all of southeast Wisconsin garners the support of a majority of poll participants across the region. The only county in which a majority of respondents is not in favor is Ozaukee.
  • Residents of the region are split on whether they would favor increased user fees in order to lower property taxes. Increased sales taxes for this purpose are slightly less favored.

For full results of the poll, go to the poll website.

Anneliese Dickman