This past weekend, the State Assembly voted to pass their state budget, which included an amendment to the RTA and funding recommendations that came out of the Joint Finance Committee on May 1st.  The hard work of transit advocates over the past decade, and especially that last few years and months, has really helped us move forward! 

The Assembly amendment, while not perfect, significantly strengthened the RTA proposal that came out of Joint Finance, ensuring that it includes the necessary pieces that will make our RTA competitive and acceptable to the Federal Transit Administration.  Specifically, they recommended that:

  • A 3-county Southeast Regional Transit Authority (SERTA) that would include integrated local transit and KRM commuter rail;
  • Needed funding for Racine and Kenosha buses;
  • And a dedicated funding source for transit in Milwaukee by designating a 0.65 % sales tax with 0.5% designated for transit and 0.15% for safety in the municipalities in Milwaukee County.

Also, they specified that if transit were to be funded through this dedicated sales tax, then transit should be removed from the property tax levy (this was not specified before).  To learn more about the Assembly RTA amendment, visit the Transit Now website by clicking hereYou may also access a Fact Sheet by visiting our Group here.  Scroll down to the Discussion Board, to access the post. 

What do we do next? FAST TIMELINE!
The state Senate will begin deliberating the state budget TODAY, Monday, June 15 and plans to vote on it by Friday, June 19.  Now is the time to continue reaching out to our state legislators:

  1. Be sure to thank Assembly RTA amendment co-sponsors!  Tell them we appreciate their efforts to continue working towards a regional solution for transit.  Remember to include your full name and address.

    Racine and Kenosha Representatives:
    Cory Mason, 608-266-0634, Rep.Mason@legis.wisconsin.gov
    Barca
, 888-534-0064, Rep.Barca@legis.wisconsin.gov  


    Bob Turner, 
888-529-0061, Rep.Turner@legis.wisconsin.gov
    Milwaukee Representatives:
    Pedro Colon,  608-267-7669, rep.colon@legis.wisconsin.gov  
    Tamara Grigsby, 608-266-0645, rep.grigsby@legis.wisconsin.gov  
    Jon Richards,  608-266-0650, rep.richards@legis.wisconsin.gov  
    Christine Sinicki, 608-266-8588, rep.sinicki@legis.wisconsin.gov  
    Josh Zepnick,  608-266-1707, rep.zepnick@legis.wisconsin.gov  
  2. Contact your state Senator and ask them to support one three-county, REGIONAL transit authority that funds transit through a dedicated sales tax.  Ask them to ensure that the provisions for Milwaukee County that allow for a property tax relief with a sales tax dedicated to transit are extended to other counties in the region.  THANK THEM for their continued work on transit and their help in moving SE WI forward so we can get people efficiently connected to jobs, grow jobs, and pump more money back into our local economy.  Don’t know who your state legislator is?  Visit www.legis.wisconsin.gov and click on the “Who Represents Me?” link in the middle of the page to find your state legislators. After inputting your address, it will bring up their contact information.
  3. Contact these state Senators that represent SE WI with the same request of support described above in #2.

One last thing…please forward this information onto your own networks, friends, colleagues and neighbors.  Ask them to do step #2, and to ask their friends to do the same!!  Our legislators need to hear from their constituents how important transit is to the growth of our regional economy. 

Again, a special thanks to EVERYONE who has worked so hard over these many years…we are SO close to seeing comprehensive, real progress on transit in our region.  With an RTA and dedicated funding, SE WI can build important economic links in the region and to the global economy of Chicago, supporting our businesses and families.  

Let’s Get Moving!
Kristi Luzar
Program Manager, UEDA
Coalition for Advancing Transit

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