Transporter says wind-power shipments 'took off' in March

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

From an article by Tom Content in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Suppliers to the auto industry may want to shift their focus to wind components, given incentives for renewable energy included in the federal stimulus package.

Wisconsin has always been a supply-chain state, to the farm industry with implements, then to the auto industry with motors. But the effort to woo the wind-power industry to the state is centered north of Milwaukee, the former machine shop to the world.

The focus on wind is coming from The New North, the economic development initiative of northeastern Wisconsin, home to Tower Tech in Manitowoc, Badger Transport in Clintonville and dozens of other suppliers to the wind industry.

The wind industry had been growing at a record pace year after year until it was hit by the economic slowdown like other businesses, said Jeff Anthony of the American Wind Energy Association.

The wind industry's growth has been something to watch, said Al Johnson, president of Badger Transport, which ships the wind industry's oversized components.

"We do everything," he said. "We do the towers and the blades and the cells."

Johnson's company has been involved in the wind industry since 1997, and seen it grow from less than one-third of his company's sales to more than 90% today.

"I was involved in it when it was feast or famine for quite a number of years."

Companies clustered
Across northeastern Wisconsin, 95 companies are supplying the wind industry, creating an economic cluster that the region seeks to capitalize on.

"When we focus on the wind industry, our message is not: 'Come to northeast Wisconsin and build your wind farm,' but rather: 'Come to northeast Wisconsin if you are involved with the supply-chain side of the wind industry,' " said Josh Morby, spokesman for The New North.

Madison to get $2.4 million in stimulus aid for energy improvements

Monday, March 30, 2009

Froman article by Mark Pitsch in the Wisconsin State Journal:

Madison would get $2.4 million for energy improvements under the federal economic stimulus law, the White House announced today.

That money is part of the $37.2 million headed to Wisconsin for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program portion of law. The money builds on $197 million in weatherization and energy funding being sent to the state and announced earlier this month.

Peak Oil speech, April 15, Madison: Energy, Natural Resources, and Human Behavior on a Full Planet

Friday, March 27, 2009

This talk by Nate Hagens, Editor,, will provide a framework for planning supply and demand mitigation and adaptation strategies to fossil fuel depletion. Nate believes by acknowledging and understanding both our biophysical (resource depletion) and biological (cognitive barriers, habituation, and belief systems) constraints we will be better able to choose cultural opportunities for sustainability. He synthesizes recent research in cognitive neuroscience, neuroeconomics, and evolutionary biology and their applications to sustainability oriented behaviors in addressing energy and environmental limits. Ultimately Hagens looks for those solutions that are aligned with not only what we have, but who we are.
Discussion to follow.

Nate Hagens is a PhD Candidate at the University of Vermont Gund Institute for Ecological Economics and Editor of The Oil Drum, an online global think tank devoted to energy and sustainability. Prior to UVM, Nate developed trading algorithms for commodity systems and was President of Sanctuary Asset Management, Managing Director of Pension Research Institute, and Vice President at the investment firms Salomon Brothers and Lehman Brothers. Nate has an MBA with honors from University of Chicago and a BBA in Business Administration from University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Example page from The Oil Drum, Advice To President Obama: Yes We Can, But Will We?

Science Hall
This event begins at 7:00pm in Room 180, Science Hall, on the UW-Madison campus. Science Hall is located on the corner of Park Street and Observatory Drive, across from Memorial Union. Parking is available in the evening in the ramp beneath the Helen C. White Library, on the opposite corner of Park and Observatory.

Energy habits need to change quickly

Thursday, March 26, 2009

From a post on Tom Content's blog on JSonline:

The United States should enact a carbon tax – and distribute the proceeds to every adult in the nation -- as a policy move to create behavior changes needed to reduce emissions linked to global warming.

That was the message climate scientist James Hansen of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration brought Wednesday to nearly 300 people at the Renewable Energy Summit in Milwaukee. Hansen directs the Goddard Institute of Space Studies and has been outspoken in raising concerns about elevated levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

“We have reached a point where there is a crisis,” he said.

Energy habits need to change quickly to keep the concentration of carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere at levels that would prevent dramatic rise in sea levels later in this century, Hansen said.

“The danger is that we will push the system past tipping points where dynamics of the system begin to take over and even without further additions of greenhouse gases we will get large changes,” he said.

“The bad news is that we’ve realized in just the last couple of years that we’ve already passed into a dangerous zone. If we just left the compesotion at what it is now we would get some very undesirable changes. But the good news is we can actually reduce the atmospheric concentration amount of CO2 if we take the right policy steps, and there would be other benefits of doing it.”

Doyle seeks full cost of Madison-Milwaukee high-speed rail

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

From an article by Larry Sandler and Patrick Marley in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
State officials are seeking federal stimulus money to pay the full $519 million cost of a proposed 110-mph Milwaukee-to-Madison passenger train line, not just part of it, Gov. Jim Doyle says.

If the grant is approved, trains could be running as soon as late 2012 or early 2013, cutting the travel time between Wisconsin's two largest cities to 1 hour, 7 minutes, officials say. That's about 20 minutes faster than the same trip by automobile, depending on traffic.

Service would start with six daily round trips, connecting Milwaukee's downtown Amtrak-Greyhound station with a new station at Madison's Dane County Regional Airport, with additional stops in Brookfield, Oconomowoc and Watertown.

At the same time, service on Amtrak's Milwaukee-to-Chicago Hiawatha line would increase from the current seven daily round trips to 10, with all of the Madison-to-Milwaukee trains continuing to Chicago. If Chicago wins its bid for the 2016 Olympics, the trains would provide a link between the main Olympic sites and the cycling venues in Madison.

But even without the Olympics, authorities expect the Milwaukee-to-Madison trains to carry 1.08 million riders a year within a couple years after service starts, said Randy Wade, the state's passenger rail chief. Hiawatha ridership jumped 24% last year, to 766,167.

Workshop: Sustainable Living in the 21st Century, April 4, Monroe

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

From Inn Serendipity Bed and Breakfast, an award-winning eco-destination:
Experience a "hands-on" approach to sustainable living by spending an afternoon at Inn Serendipity, a transitional organic farm and B&B. This 1/2-day workshop includes resources to get started and a hands-on tour of the farm, gardens, a straw bale greenhouse under construction and various renewable energy systems.

Topics Include: buying farm property; sustainable gardening; using renewable energy; developing a diversified business from a rural setting; raising a family on the farm.

Time: 1pm - 4pm
Location: Inn Serendipity Bed & Breakfast, Browntown, WI [near Monroe]
Cost: $30 per person. DISCOUNT of $10 per person for B&B guests staying one or more nights. Registration fees cover printed materials, a copy of John Ivanko's The Least Imperfect Path (a $12 value), and hands-on instruction.

Instructors: Lisa Kivirist and John Ivanko, co-owners of Inn Serendipity and co-authors of ECOpreneuring: Putting Purpose and the Planet before Profitsand Rural Renaissance: Renewing the Quest for the Good Life.
Check the events calendar for links to more information.

Dane County expands marketing opportunities for growers, producers

Monday, March 23, 2009

From a news release issued by Dane County:

A project created by Dane County to connect local growers and large volume institutional buyers is expanding its efforts. The Institutional Food Market Coalition (IFM) is providing a way for agricultural enterprises such as beef, milk, dairy and cheese producers, and those selling value-added products made with local ingredients, to market to large institutional buyers.

Previously, the IFM linked local fruit and vegetable producers with purchasers but now those efforts are expanding to include local meat and dairy products. Hotels, corporations, conference centers and a number of Dane County facilities are among the private and public sector purchasers of the home-grown produce.

“Helping our local producers find big buyers for their milk, cheese, beef and other high quality products is another thing we can do to keep Dane County’s vibrant agriculture economy growing,” County Executive Kathleen Falk said. “Promoting these excellent home-grown products will create new opportunities and put more money in the back-pockets of our hard-working local growers.”

Value-Added Product producers interested in taking part are asked to complete a registration form, available at, that will include product and contact information, as well as other details important for large volume buyers. The business must be located in Wisconsin.

County to hold brainstorming session on sustainable ag

Friday, March 20, 2009

From an article in The Capital Times:

The Dane County Environment, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee announced that it will hold a public brainstorming session to help develop a county agenda on sustainable agriculture on Tuesday.

The session, which will be facilitated by Dane County Extension staff, is set for 5:30 p.m. at the Lussier Center in Lake Farm Park, 3101 Lake Farm Road, south of the Beltline, in Madison.

Staff will compile feedback from participants' discussions and worksheets, and combine that information with feedback received at a previous brainstorming session in December. The goal of the brainstorming sessions is to develop a "short list" of action items for consideration by the Dane County Board and Executive by the autumn of 2009.

Freiburg Solar Info Center: A Model for Sustainable Development

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A presentation by
Prof. Rolf C. Buschmann,
Managing Director of the Freiburg's Solar Info Center
Thursday, March 26th, 7:00 pm
Edgewood College

Rolf C. Buschmann a civil engineer, architect and project developer from Freiburg, Germany (a Madison Sister City) is coming to visit on March 26th and 27th to highlight some of his efforts regarding renewable energy and sustainable planning. He will especially focus on Freiburg's Solar Info Center - a sustainability-oriented business facility model that he would like to bring to Madison

Links to the Freiburg sites for background information:
+ Just click on English information link if needed.
+ Part of Freiburg City site. Just click on the British flag for English if it doesn't load up that way.
+ More about the Freiburg region.

Contact Ted Petith for more details about the presentation or Freiburg's solar information center.

Park Central Apts cut costs with
solar-generated electricty and hot water

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Developer Rich Arnesen (right) discusses the solar installations on the roof
of Park Central Apartments with a building resident.

From a fact sheet published by Focus on Energy:

Water heating can be a significant cost in the operation of multifamily residential buildings. On average, water heaters account for between 15 and 25 percent of the energy consumed by residents in multifamily dwellings, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), the independent statistical agency of the U.S. Department of Energy. For some multifamily residences, a solar water heating system, which uses the sun’s energy to preheat water entering an existing gas or electric water heater, may be a cost effective means to reduce monthly heating bills. . . .

Park Central Apartments, located in downtown Madison, is a development that has integrated solar hot water technology into a complete portfolio of energy saving measures. Park Central Apartments’ solar hot water system services 52 of the 76 units (which range from studio to three-bedroom units). The solar hot water system will save its tenants an estimated 37 percent of the building’s water-heating load. In addition to the solar hot water system, the electrical load for common spaces within the Park Central Apartments building is partly satisfied by a 10-kilowatt(kW) solar array.

The developer implemented several energy efficiency measures to reduce the building’s overall energy consumption, allowing the renewable energy system to satisfy more of the energy load. For example, the units are outfitted with ENERGY STAR® qualified appliances and windows, energy saving showerheads and aerators, and the developer also installed a high efficiency furnace. The heavily insulated basement parking area is not heated, further reducing the building’s heating load. In addition, according to the developer, the R-value (a measure of heat resistance for insulation) for apartment units exceeds code by 20 percent. The developer’s
passion for renovating old public buildings and new construction with energy saving measures has helped to make it Wisconsin’s first “green built” multifamily residence.

Park Central Apartments’ solar hot water heater is a closed-loop, pressurized hydraulic system. The 320-square-foot solar collector is located on the building’s roof and is largely hidden from view at the street level. Pumps cycle the solar fluid from the collector to a set of hot water tanks located five stories below within the building’s basement. Because the solar hot water system was installed during construction, the intake and return pipes were routed from the roof to the hot water storage tanks using interior space. Routing pipes through an interior space—as opposed to routing them along the outside of a building—limits heat loss and improves system efficiency. Physically, the limiting factor for the solar hot water system was the allocation of space for the hot water storage tanks in the basement. Otherwise, additional roof space could have been used to increase the size of the collector and further reduce the building’s natural gas water heating load.

Prices for parking in Madison are expected to increase in June

Monday, March 16, 2009

From an article by Kristin Czubkowski in The Capital Times:

The price of parking in Madison may go up between 35 and 100 percent for some city drivers after the Transit and Parking Commission voted Tuesday night on new prices for city parking.

The commission approved a modified rate structure that covers city-run meters, parking lots, ramps and the residential parking program. While some elements, such as the residential street-parking program at $21 annually, remained the same, rates for parking meters and in some of the more popular parking ramps will see significant increases. Parking revenues are expected to increase by about $1.3 million, or between 12 and 13 percent, under the new rate structure.

Parkers in the Monroe Street and Schenk's Corners neighborhoods will see meter prices double from 50 cents to $1 hourly, but downtown will still have the highest overall rates for parking. Street meters in Madison's downtown will increase from $1.25 to $1.50 hourly, and parking in the city's most popular parking ramps will jump from $1.10 to $1.25 or $1.50 hourly.

Bill Knobeloch, parking operations manager for Madison's Parking Utility, said changes to the rate structure take place every three years. These changes, he said, ensure that the agency continues to pay for its daily operations as well as the cost of big-ticket items like new ramps or multi-space meters that take credit cards, which the utility will likely phase in to some streets this year.

"All of this material is predicated on a single business model, and that is the Parking Utility pays all the cost of our agency," he said.

Doyle will speak at Wind Industry Supply Chain Seminar, March 31, Appleton

Friday, March 13, 2009

Wisconsin Wind Energy Supply Chain Seminar

Appleton, Wisconsin
March 31, 2009

Wisconsin Wind Energy Supply Chain Seminar will focus on wind turbine manufacturing challenges and opportunities in the state of Wisconsin. Over 8,000 components and parts are used in the construction of utility-scale wind turbines, offering opportunities for a wide range of manufacturers and service providers in Wisconsin. The existing manufacturing and service industries, as well as academic and other institutions in Wisconsin makes it an ideal state to benefit from the growth of the wind energy industry.

Hear from The Honorable Jim Doyle Governor of Wisconsin
Tuesday, March 31, 1:30 PM – 2:00 PM

Governor Jim Doyle is focused on creating opportunity for all of Wisconsin’s people and is building upon current efforts to create jobs, make America energy independent, and address the global climate crisis.

Complete program. Register online.

Wind-powered cars

Thursday, March 12, 2009

From an article by Jeff Anthony, American Wind Energy Association and RENEW board member:

. . . While wind energy is becoming a mainstream source of electricity in the U.S., with a realistic potential of powering 20% of our electric needs by 2030, its ability to play a key role in powering PHEVs [plug-in hybrid electric vehicle] makes for an even brighter future for the clean, renewable energy source. . . .

With widespread deployment, the impact of PHEVs on the transportation sector and the nation would be massive. A study by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory found that replacing 73% of the U.S. light-duty vehicle fleet with PHEVs would result in a reduction in oil consumption of 6.2 million barrels a day, cutting the need for imported oil by about 50%.

But what would such a heavy reliance on electricity generation for transportation purposes do to aggregate power plant emissions? A joint study by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and the Natural Resources Defense Council found that if 60% of light vehicles in the U.S. were replaced by plug-in vehicles by 2050, electricity consumption would rise only about 8%. The net gain from significantly reducing oil use for transportation—while only marginally increasing the use of fossil fuels to produce electricity—would translate into net carbon dioxide reductions of 450 million metric tons annually—equivalent to taking 82 million cars off the road. And when you bring wind power into the equation, the news gets even better: if the renewable energy resource contributes a greater share to the electricity supply mix that ultimately would recharge the PHEV fleet, any increase in emissions from greater electricity usage can be cut dramatically, making the net emissions reduction even lower.

The primary reason PHEVs result in significant net emissions reductions is that electric motors are several times more efficient than gasoline internal combustion engines. EPRI estimates that while charging, PHEVs will draw only 1.4 kW-2 kW—about the same as a dishwasher. Moreover, in a transportation world that includes many PHEVs, electric rates are likely to be designed to ensure that vehicle charging occurs almost exclusively at night, guaranteeing that PHEVs will use low-cost electricity—while not imposing additional strain on the electric grid during daytime hours of peak electricity usage. And wind energy fits ideally into that part of the equation for another reason as well: wind power output is typically highest at night in many parts of the country. . . .

Doyle supports two community anaerobic digesters in Dane County

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

From a news release issued by Governor Jim Doyle:

MADISON – Governor Jim Doyle today announced support for two community anaerobic digesters that will aid in efforts to clean Lake Mendota and increase production of renewable energy. Governor Doyle was joined at today’s event by Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, a leader in regional efforts to clean the area’s lakes and achieve energy independence. Governor Doyle is proposing $6.6 million in his capital budget to help fund the project.

“By providing support for these community anaerobic digesters, not only will we help clean our lakes, but will move forward on a clean energy future that will create jobs for hardworking Wisconsin families, protect our environment, and improve our security,” Governor Doyle said. “I’m pleased to work with County Executive Falk
on this important initiative to ensure a cleaner and brighter future for our state for generations to come.”

“The Governor’s support of Dane County’s 'Cow Power Project' means green jobs, green energy, and blue lakes for our citizens to enjoy,” County Executive Kathleen Falk said. “We appreciate the opportunity to partner with the state to strengthen Dane County’s dairy industry.”

In 2007, Governor Doyle provided $1.5 million through the Focus on Energy Initiative to dairy farms wanting to install anaerobic digesters, helping make Wisconsin a national leader in individual farms using digesters to eliminate manure. Today’s announcement builds on this success, implementing it at the regional level.
Governor Doyle is working with County Executive Falk to create two community digesters in northern Dane County, one in Waunakee and one in Middleton. Their environmental and fiscal benefits include:

+ Increasing dairy farms’ ability to expand by providing a mechanism to effectively and efficiently manage manure;
+ Creating jobs for hardworking Wisconsin families to construct the digesters, run the digesters, and meet increased demand resulting from farms expanding operations;
+ Eliminating an estimated 8,000 to 20,000 pounds of phosphorous per year per community digester from the Lake Mendota watershed;
+ Reducing 12,000 tons of greenhouse gases each year per community digester;
+ And generating $900,000 in annual revenue from renewable energy that will be produced by each digester.

News coverage in The Capital Times.

Urban agriculture insights, innovations, and impacts, March 11

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Will Allen of Growing Power will speak on "Urban agriculture insights, innovations, and impacts: the Growing Power story."

Wednesday, March 11th, 5:30-7:00 at the downtown Madison Public Library, room 202, second floor.

He will be available afterwards for questions and to help Madison activists explore the possibilities for expanded urban agriculture in Madison & Dane County.

Couple planting seeds for a green inn

Sunday, March 08, 2009

From an article Kayla Bunge on Janesville's GazetteXtra:

DELAVAN TOWNSHIP — Catherine McQueen and Fritz Kreiss are seeing green.

The couple plan to transform their secluded 5 acres at N5072 Highway 50 into The Green Leaf Inn, a 19-suite bed and breakfast with a focus on sustainability.

“We’re redefining the perception of what green living will be,” Kreiss said. “We want to show people they can live without having to change their lifestyle—but do it in a way that’s sustainable.”

The couple says the bed and breakfast will maintain the highest standards for sustainable building, renewable energy and use of land and resources while providing guests with a luxurious experience. . . .

McQueen and Kreiss want to immerse the community in the possibilities of green living—from the early development stages, through the construction and into the day-to-day operation of The Green Leaf Inn.

“We want to stuff this place as much as we can,” McQueen said of the couple’s plans implement as many green concepts—from a solar photovoltaic system to generate electricity to a cistern to capture rainwater for reuse to using towels and sheets made from bamboo.

The plan calls for three buildings on the property:

-- A welcome center will house the reception desk, bathrooms, a small conference center and displays about the energy systems, building materials and sustainable practices used on site.

-- A main suite building will house 16 Jacuzzi suites.

-- A secondary suite building will house three Jacuzzi suites, including an upstairs honeymoon suite, along with living and dining space.

More groups weigh in on DOT's long-range plan

Friday, March 06, 2009

From a statement submitted to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation by 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, Midwest Environmental Advocates, WISPIRG, Center on Wisconsin Strategies, Clean Wisconsin, and League of Wisconsin Municipalities:

Thank you for this opportunity to provide comments on the Connections 2030 plan. Connections 2030 represents a welcome change in Wisconsin DOT’s approach to multimodal transportation planning. The organization of the transportation topics by transportation themes rather than by transportation modes allows for a better evaluation of maximizing transportation efficiency. Planning staff deserve recognition for the new approach. We would like to submit the following specific comments to WisDOT for consideration when drafting the final Connections 2030 plan document. Briefly, we encourage WisDOT and the state of Wisconsin to:

• Provide more transportation mode choices, with priority placed on local and regional transit, passenger rail, and bicycle and pedestrian facilities.
• Use federal and state transportation funds to finance more low-carbon transportation infrastructure such as transit, rail, bicycle, and pedestrian facilities.
• Provide more seamless connections between and among transportation modes.
• Develop policies to reduce overall vehicle miles driven (VMD)/vehicle miles traveled (VMT).
• Pursue policies to reduce green house gas emissions.
• Follow a “fix-it-first” policy for construction and maintenance of highways and streets.
• Recognize the important economic contributions of transit in both terms of return on investment and in stimulating local economies through new development.
• Pursue demand management policies where practical as a preferred alternative to expanding infrastructure capacity.
• Conduct annual accounting of progress toward the transportation goals recommended by Governor Doyle’s Task Force on Global Warming.

Communication inadequate in RTA discussion

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

From a story by Paul Snyder on The Daily Reporter:

Steve Hiniker says a handful of public meetings on a Dane County regional transit authority left county and Madison-area transportation planners with one resounding message: improve communication.

“Communications haven’t been handled as well as they could and there are still a lot of concerns that need to be addressed,” said Hiniker, executive director of 1000 Friends of Wisconsin and member of the Transport 2020 Implementation Task Force. “There’s a tremendous amount of misinformation out there.”

The task force held meetings in Middleton, Stoughton and DeForest during the past two weeks to listen to Dane County residents’ thoughts on an RTA and inform them of what one could ultimately include.

The centerpiece and most controversial aspect of a Dane County RTA would be a push for a commuter rail line running between Middleton and Sun Prairie. The county proposed a half-cent sales tax increase to finance the project and other components of the RTA. The county also promised a referendum to let voters decide on whether to create an RTA.

Municipal leaders from other communities not located along the rail line already questioned the project’s value to the county at large and wondered why residents without immediate access to the line should be forced to pay for it.

But David Trowbridge, project manager for the Transport 2020 program, said there is misinformation out there about the project’s overall costs.

Trowbridge said estimates to build the commuter rail line and its stations, buy the vehicle fleet and get the line running come to about $255 million. Annual operating expenses would be about $10 million.

“People said the true cost would be over a billion dollars,” he said. “But having been the one that worked to pull together these figures, I’ve got to stand behind them.”

Even at the actual price, several leaders question the investment.

“(Sun Prairie) might make a nice endpoint,” said Sun Prairie Alderman Hariah Hutkowski. “There would be some benefits in terms of increased traffic for businesses, but, in the long run, I don’t think the benefits outweigh the cost. I think we’ll be subsidizing this thing forever, and it could also lead to more congestion in the city.”

But Sun Prairie Mayor Joe Chase said the problem isn’t the idea of the commuter rail. The problem, he said, is that it’s hasn’t been well thought out. He said the stopping point would be two miles away from Sun Prairie in the town of Burke.

RTAs hold promise for statewide economic development

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

From a guest editorial in The Capital Times by Karl Ostby, chairman of the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Transit Authority (RTA):

Although southeastern Wisconsin currently has the only Regional Transit Authority (RTA) in the state of Wisconsin, elected leaders, business owners and community partners across the state are taking notice of the need for expanded mass transit and the economic development potential it holds. Gov. Doyle should be applauded for promoting the creation of RTAs in the biennial budget, and legislators should support this measure as an important way to generate both short- and long-term economic development in our state.

Metropolitan areas across the nation have already recognized regional economic development as the key to a successful future. While our current system is bound by municipal lines, the three-county region of Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha should be credited for embracing regionalism as part of a united effort to make smart improvements, strengthening communities within this region and opening the door for regional transit authorities to be established throughout the state. As our state deals with a struggling economy and looks for opportunities to build infrastructure investments and create jobs, our leaders should unite in supporting transit infrastructure investments and the creation of regional transit systems throughout our state.