By Genaro C. Armas
March 2, 2022
Expanding public transit options could bring more students from around southeastern Wisconsin to UWM at Waukesha while connecting those already on campus to more work opportunities, some regional business and educational leaders told UW System President Tommy Thompson.
Southeastern Wisconsin lacks a transportation system that connects people across municipal lines, especially the population hubs of Milwaukee and Waukesha. Robyn Ludtke, vice president of talent development at the Waukesha County Business Alliance, said at a roundtable discussion led by Thompson that transportation is one of the biggest barriers of growth for the county.
It was the latest in a series of listening sessions that Thompson is holding at UW System campuses across the state as he winds down a nearly two-year-long tenure as interim president.
“What I really want to hear is ‘What is the need? How can the university solve problems?’” Thompson said Tuesday at the UWM at Waukesha gathering.
Ludtke and a few others among the roughly 30 attendees cited transportation as one of the biggest needs.
“We know that once (the students) are here in Waukesha County, our employers are ready to serve them. Our communities are ready to welcome them,” Ludtke said. “How do we get them here?”
While UWM and other system institutions may not have oversight or capacity to create regional transportation networks, universities can help by way of research and forging partnerships.