Dear Friends and Supporters,

On April 22nd the Wisconsin State Legislature ended their legislative session for this year without acting on AB-282.  This bill would have enabled local communities throughout the State to form and fund Regional Transit Authorities (RTAs) and dedicate local funding sources to support buses and other local transit systems. 

First of all, on behalf of the C.A.T. Steering Committee, WE THANK YOU for your participation, your calls, letters and emails, and most of all your visible support for resolving the crisis facing our local transit systems.  We would not have gotten this far without your collective efforts!

Also on our list to thank are key legislative champions who worked tirelessly over the past 2 months to move AB-282 forward and to advocate for its passage among their colleagues.  In particular, we would like to commend:

  • State Representatives Peter Barca, Tamara Grigsby, Chris Sinicki and Cory Mason
  • State Senators Lena Taylor and John Lehman
  • Assembly Transportation Committee Chair John Steinbrink and Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan
  • The many local elected officials throughout southeastern Wisconsin who displayed great leadership and public support for this legislation. 

It is clear that a significant number of constituents recognize the need to support efforts to save and invest in our local transit systems.

NEXT STEPS

Key members of our Coalition are now discussing possible options for where we go from here.  It is clear to everyone who has worked to support this legislation that the significant impacts of leaving this issue unresolved cannot be understated.  Right now, local communities are left to face funding shortfalls on their own, leaving them with no choice but to start significantly cutting service and raising fares in 2011.  Business growth will be stifled, people will lose access to jobs and education, and many others will be forced to make hard choices because they will no longer be able to get around independently.  The cost of inaction ensures there will be a wide array of economic consequences for this region.

What Can You Do?

  • Write a Letter to the Editor – let them know what you think about the outcome of this legislative session.  Instructions for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel are below; a similar process is usually followed for other papers (Racine Journal Times, etc.)  Check their websites for details.
  • Write a letter, email or call your Legislators and ask them what their Plan B is.  What will they do to ensure that local communities have the tools they need to create a regional transit system and prevent significant cuts in service in 2011?  Find your legislators:    http://www.legis.wisconsin.gov/w3asp/waml/waml.aspx or 1-800-362-9472
  • Write a letter, email or call the Legislative Champions we listed above and thank them for their support and efforts.  Encourage them to continue working with us to find a solution.

Stay tuned…we will be in touch with C.A.T. members over the next few weeks with an update of where we go from here.   As one of our Steering Committee members stated this morning, he feels “empowered in the faith that small bricks make big buildings.”  The “small bricks” in this Coalition give us all a lot of faith that we can do what’s right for transit in our community!

Moving Forward Together
The Coalition for Advancing Transit

Letter to the Editor Instructions for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

“Timely, well-written, provocative opinions on topics of interest in Milwaukee and Wisconsin are given first preference.  All letters are subject to editing.  Letters selected for publication in the newspaper will also be posted on JSOnline.com.” 

GUIDELINES:

  1. Approximately 200 word limit.
  2. Include your name, street address and daytime phone.
  3. They do not acknowledge receipt of submissions.
  4. They don’t publish poetry, anonymous or open letters.
  5. Each writer is limited to one published letter every two months.

Write: Letters to the editor, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, P.O. Box 371, Milwaukee, WI 53201-0371 or Fax: (414)-223-5444 or E-mail: jsedit@journalsentinel.com.

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