Generac, Whitewater on board for bus plan
Bus service fares
One-way fares for the proposed Janesville-Milton-Whitewater bus service are:
-- Janesville to Whitewater—$4
-- Milton to Whitewater—$2.50
-- Janesville to Milton—$1.90
-- Inside Janesville or Whitewater—$1.50.
A 10-ride bus pass for Janesville to Whitewater could cost $36; Janesville to Milton, $17.
JANESVILLE Commuter bus service between Janesville and Whitewater—with a stop in Milton—could be a reality starting April 29, if all goes well.
The city of Whitewater and major sponsor Generac Power Systems are already on board and offering to pitch in $41,058 for the balance of this year. The only approval needed is from the Janesville City Council, which heard the plan at its meeting Monday night.
None of the five council members present spoke against the plan, and some seemed pleased. The council will vote on the proposal when it meets April 9.
Generac was key to the deal, said David Mumma, Janesville transit director. The company is adding 500 jobs this year and wants to offer the service to prospective employees from the Janesville/Milton area.
Mumma said anyone could ride the bus, including UW-Whitewater students and staff. He said informal talks with the university are ongoing, but he doesn't expect the university to join the consortium anytime soon.
Nevertheless, the service could be expanded if other employers join, Mumma said.
The Beloit-Janesville Express started in 1987 with three runs per day, and now it's an hourly service, Mumma said after the meeting.
UW-Whitewater considered a similar service in 2010, but that plan died when the student senate voted down a proposal to assess students $5 per year in favor of an online rideshare arrangement called Zimride, Mumma said.
The bus route would start at the Downtown Transfer Center, 123 S. River St., Janesville, then travel down Milton Avenue and stop at the Van Galder Bus Depot before taking Highway 26 to the east side of Milton, Mumma said.
The Van Galder stop could be a service for UW-W students who want to catch Van Galder buses to Madison, Chicago and other destinations, Mumma said.
The bus would take Highway 59 to Whitewater, proceed to Generac on the city's far northeast side and then travel to the UW-W campus via Starin Road, Mumma said.
A one-way trip of about 21 miles would take about 50 minutes, including stops and allowances for winter-weather delays.
Cost through the end of this year would be $128,310, Mumma said. The city of Whitewater and Generac contribution would cover 32 percent of costs. State and federal aid would cover 53 percent, or $68,005.
Fares, estimated at $19,247, would cover the remainder.
Benefits to Janesville would include access to jobs for Janesville residents and giving out-of-town residents access to Janesville businesses and medical facilities, Mumma said.
Generac employees would pay fares just like everyone else, but Generac is working on a plan to let their employees buy bus passes with a pre-tax deduction from their paychecks.
That practice is common with large employers elsewhere, Mumma said.
The Janesville City Council on Monday:
-- Voted unanimously to ban asphalt roof shingles from the landfill starting July 1.
-- Denied claims for refunds on properties the owners believed were excessively assessed. Denied were claims from Target Corp. for its property at 2017 Highway 14; Sears Holdings, 2500 Milton Ave.; Janesville Exchange Project, 1106 Highway 14; Grand Valley Hospitality, 2400 Fulton St.; Hesser Real Estate Holdings, 1811 Highway 14; Hesser Revocable Trust, 2436 Oak Brook Court; and William H. Hesser Jr., 2009 Milton Ave.
-- Heard councilman Sam Liebert announce a candlelight vigil focusing on the shooting death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin is planned for dusk Friday at Lower Courthouse Park in Janesville. Sunset is about 7:20 p.m.
-- Approved a resolution of support for the Beloit-Janesville Peace Trail between the two cities.