Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway released her $1.1 billion 2020 Capital Budget and Capital Improvement Plan Tuesday.

Rhodes-Conway said she structured the budget to incorporate the Six Elements of a Great City, as defined by Imagine Madison. According to their website, Imagine Madison is a “public listening campaign designed to gather the opinions of Madisonians in planning for the Madison of tomorrow — and beyond.”

Imagine Madison defines their six elements as Land Use and Transportation, Neighborhoods and Housing, Green and Resilient, Economy and Opportunity, Culture and Character, and Effective Government. Every one of the 192 capital items proposed had to connect to one of these elements for inclusion in the budget.

Rhodes-Conway recognized her team had to make compromises because of limited financial capacity, but she also introduced a new concept called the Horizon List to combat that. 

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“We know the capital needs in our growing city are great and exceed the financial capacity of what our residents can afford. That is why I have introduced a new concept to the city’s capital budget — the Horizon List — a tool to identify and acknowledge critical and high priority projects that are at the conceptual stage which need additional planning prior to inclusion in the Capital Budget,” Rhodes-Conway said in a statement.

The capital budget plans to update the transit system to keep pace with the vastly growing city of Madison. According to Rhodes-Conway, 50,000 people have moved into the City of Madison over the last 20 years.

Metro Transit’s 2018 Annual Report revealed that Metro had a 3.2% ridership increase that left them with 13.2 million rides. Rhodes-Conway further broke that down in the budget. She explained that Metro provides transportation for 57,000 riders daily in an average school year.

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To accomplish this, the budget includes funding towards the implementation of the first phase of a Bus Rapid Transit system as early as 2024. Not only would the system expand services, but it may lower ride time by 25% through the utilization of dedicated lanes and larger buses.

The budget would also finance the modernization of Metro Headquarters and Madison’s aging bus barns. These updates would allow for more buses and prepare for more electric vehicles. In order to meet the goal of increasing the annual ridership to 18,000,000, the budget will invest in a Satellite Bus Facility to hold additional vehicles.

Beyond enhancements to the Metro Transit system and facilities, Rhodes-Conway’s budget includes goals of improving pedestrian and bike path infrastructures, which will be achieved through four separate projects. 

Rhodes-Conway ended the budget with the hope that all residents will be able to realize the vision of Madison.

“Together we will continue to meet our challenges and achieve our priorities as a city,” Rhodes-Conway said. “Our vision is a Madison that is innovative, inclusive and thriving. I want that vision to be realized for all our residents.”