Students may be called on to foot more of the bill for the bus passes provided through the Associated Students of Madison because of public transportation provisions in the budget repair bill.
Student Services Finance Committee Chair Matt Manes said if the bill passes, there is a great possibility the cost of the bus pass will increase significantly.
Public transit in Madison received $7.1 million from federal funding in 2010, according to a Feb. 16 memo from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau.
According to the memo, federal funds can only be issued when transit workers have collective bargaining rights, which would be stripped from workers in the public sector. If the bill goes through, Madison Metro may lose the funding.
Madison City Attorney Mike May said there is much uncertainty regarding what will happen with city transportation.
May said the budget from Gov. Scott Walker may cause significant federal revenues to both the city of Madison and the University of Wisconsin to be in question.The budget announcement has been delayed until March 1.
“We hope it means we won’t lose federal funding for buses, but we aren’t sure,” May said. “If we do end up losing transit funding, our options for transportation will become very limited, including a significant cut in service.”
The SSFC meeting scheduled for Monday was canceled partly because of the protests at the Capitol, and the ASM Bus Pass Committee did not have enough information to present a budget because of the pending bill.
“Any amount of money requested would be a shot in the dark,” Manes said.
There has been no discussion of eliminating the bus pass program for students, Manes said.
Madison Metro spokesperson Mick Rusch said they are monitoring the situation while waiting for the budget repair to pass, but there is still too much uncertainty to predict what will happen with city transportation funding.
Rusch added Madison Metro has been working very closely with the mayor’s office and city attorney’s office while watching things unfold.