After years of hard work and coalition building, we saw an unprecedented group of leaders and supporters come together Tuesday, January 19, 2010 at a press conference hosted by Tim Sullivan, CEO of Bucyrus International and Governor Jim Doyle.

Their message was simple: our state legislators need to move forward now with legislation that would allow Wisconsin communities to form regional transit authorities and ensure that local bus systems get the investment and infrastructure support through dedicated funding they need. 

This is an important step that will ensure Wisconsin is a part of future transit developments such as high speed rail, urban streetcar systems and commuter rail.  For a summary and links to video coverage of the press conference and media and press articles, visit http://tiny.cc/TNOWupdate at C.A.T. group site, which features the most recent update from our partner, Transit Now.  

The Southeastern Regional Transit Authority’s (SERTA), which was formed during the 2009 state budget process to support the KRM Commuter Rail initiative, has started a new blogThe site will provides a continuously updated source of information regarding transit-related media coverage, events, rallies and meetings in which you can become involved.  It will also feature a citizen forum and testimonials in support of transit.  Currently highlighted on this site is an Editorial by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Editorial Board (“Milwaukee needs a transit authority now” Sunday, January 23, 2010), and links to videos posted by TDA of Wisconsin of business leaders and citizens supporting this effort.  To access all this great information, visit the SERTA blog at: http://tiny.cc/SERTAblog 

WHAT’S NEXT?  Things will move very quickly over the next few weeks – it’s all hands on deck!

  • URGENCY: The legislative session is now underway, with just 2 months left to advance the bill through the Assembly and the Senate, and just a few days per month for voting. A challenging, but do-able, task. It will take the voices of all advocates.
  • Co-sponsors of the Regional Transit and Jobs Investment Act are: Senator John Lehman, Senator Lena Taylor, Rep. Tamara Grigsby, Rep. Peter Barca, and Rep. Bob Turner. The bill provides the funding and regional framework to integrate buses and KRM Commuter Rail, preserve and enhance bus systems, and keep the KRM project moving ahead. It also calls for local decision-making and property tax relief.
  • The first step is that the RTA bill will get referred to a committee. From there, expect a hearing to be announced in the in coming days. When the hearing is announced, put it on your calendar! Strong support at the hearing in Madison is absolutely vital.

Now it’s important for EVERY person to show their support. Please take a moment to contact your legislators and thank them if they are a co-sponsor. They worked extremely hard to find consensus on this bill. If they are not, ask what they are doing to advance the Regional Transit Bill. Even if you have contacted them in the past, now is the time to remind them to about the urgent need for the RTA. Find your legislator here.

Also, note that the Coalition for Advancing Transit (C.A.T.) has updated its logo, thanks to the generous support of one of our members.  Look for this logo and icon to be distributed and used by our members and partners – there are many organizations and individuals working together on this issue across the state!  If you’d like to know more, please feel free to contact us.

We thank you for your continued support and active involvement in helping move transit forward in southeastern Wisconsin.  The time truly is now – as things happen we continue to send out updates and keep you in the loop. 

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