On September 8, 2009, Governor Doyle announced a framework proposal that was crafted with legislators from southeastern Wisconsin to improve bus and rail service in Milwaukee, Kenosha and Racine through a Regional Transit Authority (RTA).  The Coalition for Advancing Transit (C.A.T.) is encouraged by Governor Doyle’s leadership on addressing the need for a truly regional transit infrastructure that encompasses both bus and rail transit throughout the three counties.  We also thank our State legislators for their efforts to find solutions for the significant challenges facing transit in our region.  

The Coalition for Advancing Transit is pleased to see that the Governor honored Milwaukee County’s referendum by including property tax relief and a sales tax of 0.5% dedicated solely to transit.  The framework detailed in this proposal will allow Milwaukee County to immediately address the urgent need for funding its local bus transit, while phasing in Racine and Kenosha with the end goal being one regional authority.  It will also strengthen the KRM’s application for the FTA’s New Starts funding by showing a regional framework and dedicated funding.

The ability to form and fund an RTA is a critical starting point for creating an integrated, regional transit system that will benefit our cities, counties and state as a whole.  The Coalition for Advancing Transit continues to support the eventual implementation of an RTA in southeastern Wisconsin beyond the three proposed counties and dedicated funding source for transit of up to a 0.5 percent sales tax and resulting property tax relief

We encourage our regional elected officials to move forward quickly in supporting companion legislation through the Assembly and Senate to ensure we do not lose the momentum created by this announcement.  Meanwhile, we urge local leaders to appoint the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Transit Authority (SERTA) signed into state law as part of the recent budget and finalize the New Starts application to the Federal Transit Administration.

The Governor’s proposal will assist this region in adding the missing elements of a viable, financially sound, regional transit system that ensures their vitality and growth and allows southeastern Wisconsin to make significant investments that connect our region and enhance our economic development and competitiveness. 

The principles of the Governor’s proposed framework can be viewed here:  http://www.wisgov.state.wi.us/docview.asp?docid=17557

STAY TUNED!  As legislative developments occur, C.A.T. will let members and partners know how they can continue to get involved and keep these important steps moving forward so that we have successful outcomes for transit in SE WI in the next year.