State cuts could hit Wausau's Metro Ride - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

State cuts could hit Wausau's Metro Ride

 By Anna Carrera - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

WAUSAU (WAOW) -- If Governor Walker's budget repair bill passes, Wausau could lose its bus system. One-third of Metro Ride's budget comes from federal funding, which city leaders said they could lose if Walker's budget repair bill passes.

"I would be devastated," said Metro Rider Anna Licona. "I would have to rely on rides from other people."

Licona moved to Wausau twenty years ago and has been a faithful bus rider ever since. She said she doesn't know what she'd do if they didn't give her a lift.

Governor Walker's budget repair bill would remove collective bargaining from union workers. Local transportation leaders said collective bargaining is a necessity if the bus program wants to see any green from the federal government. But Licona said she's worried about those who make in living in transportation.

"Look at the bus drivers will be out of work too," said Licona. "Look at all the people that will be out of work it's devastating."

"Salvation Army, we go to Walgreens," said bus driver Troy Hanson, when describing stops along his route. "There's also Family Planning on my route. We also have the Clubhouse, Community Corner, where a lot of people get assistance."

Hanson has been driving people around Wausau for about six and a half years. He said he sees a lot of elderly and disabled people using the bus system.

"Shutting down the bus system here would put a lot of people at an inconvenience," said Hanson. "Most of them wouldn't be able to afford to take a cab. I don't know how they'd get around when it gets really cold this time of year especially."

For all the bus-lovers in the city, Walker's budget repair bill could mean the end of the line.

"I just don't know what all these people are going to do," said Licona.

People on the Metro Ride asked if there was any way the city could save the program. One of the bus drivers said that would involve the city cutting a deal with the union workers who drive the buses. The city works with six different unions. One of the Mayor's representative said that would make it difficult to treat the transit union differently than the rest.

Online Reporter: Anna Carrera

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