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Southeastern RTA back in action

By Sean Ryan

The regional transit authority charged with overseeing the Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee commuter rail project will get back on track with a meeting on Monday.

The authority was first created in 2005, but it has been on hiatus since September. The legislation that approved the board in 2005 had a Sept. 1, 2009, sunset date.

But the state biennial budget revived the authority and its ability to levy a fee on car rentals within Kenosha, Racine and Milwaukee counties to pay for planning the KRM project.

The proposed $207.5 million KRM project would create a commuter rail line from Milwaukee to Kenosha.

The authority collected $2.7 million through the rental fee between October, when the fee was first levied, and September. The board during that time has spent $1.2 million surveying area residents about the project, spreading information about KRM planning and lobbying elected officials.

The reformed nine-member RTA board will meet on Monday morning to discuss its budget, future plans for the KRM project and Gov. Jim Doyle’s proposal to let governments in Kenosha, Racine and Milwaukee counties form local RTAs with the ability to levy new taxes to pay for transit projects.

8 comments

  1. This is a useless meeting until the state and local governments work out their transit disagreements.

  2. Agreed. This project is dragging out way too long; surveys and public opinion polls confirm that the public also feels the project is long overdue. These ongoing smalltime local nitpickings and intramural politics are stalling the inevitable, which will only drive the final costs up. As a result, this area stands as the last major metro area without adequate rail service.

  3. I agree with Louis Rugani, inasmuch as this train hasn’t even been arriving at the station, much less pulling out to go anywhere, for far too long. And the _Regional_ Transit Authority to go with it.

    Nonetheless, the focus of the planning people was on one thing – a KRM commuter rail line, for most of that time spent planning and figuring. Only in the last couple years has the concept of decent bus connections supporting and supported by the train – seriously influenced the discussions. Someday we may discover that we really, really need those transit options, and that will change the discussion again. But it may be too late then. Takes over 6 years to build the train service.

    Until somewhere over 60% of the population realizes how much we need that transit, our friends who live away from the directly affected areas, such as the Town of Burlington (not City of..) will continue to be vocally effective at preventing any changes, or improvements.

  4. DITTO to the above last 2 comments. The unknowing taxpayer has been misled to the merits of an RTA for our 3 county area. They are scared out their wits by the big-numbers” that are displayed. Our area will continue to lag in progress and collect crumbling dust, if we don’t come together on this project. Too many are not aware of the federal funds that are involved, and that it’s our dollars that will go to other states for similar projects, if we don’t act and apply now. Where has progress been with the status quo? Investment and quality of life environment is not in too many taxpayers minds. The failure of some rep’s to spread the “good” word, while being afraid of their re-election has hurt this effort. Commerce and progress is not only related to billions $ of road building and car transport only. THE NETWORK AND RIPPLES OF MASS TRANSITS VALUE IS LONG LONG OVERDUE !
    RTA’S are not against cars. They are in concert with them. The name of the game is CONNECTIVITY FOR ALL. After all, not all people want to, or are even able to drive. Yet, those that don’t, happily help pay the multi-billions to help people.that do.

  5. Ditto to the above 2. INVEST INVEST. We have been too reluctant. Some taxpayers don’t know the advantages of an RTA. Some of our rep’s have been lax on spreading the “good word”. As we crumble to more dust, the delays only exacerbate the 3 county plight of mass transit. Cars only are not an answer. Unfortunately some taxpayers don’t weigh quality of life and commerce advantages to us with buses and trains being part of an RTA. They are led, by some, to believe astronomical numbers coming out of their pocket. Of course that’s not the case. Give them a quiz on what it’s all about and they are not aware of the funding sources and how it would relieve the property tax. Oh well, it’s now or never. If they really care about whom they live among and about expanding commerce beyond the failing status quo, INVEST!! INVEST, FOR NOW AND OUR KIDS FUTURE.

  6. Hey Jay ! Was that you writing in the last two posts to agree with your own post like you used to do when you didn’t know weveryone could check the ISp addresses? THey sure looked like your writing style!

  7. This area will never develop without regional transportation. The residents of Racine and Kenosha have to realize that they are bedroom communities and the jobs that will come are in Chicago and Milwaukee. In addition the few remaining companies we have will relocate if their employees do not have alternative transportation available.

    The Chicago, Milwaukee metro area is one of a very few areas in the U.S. that do not have RTA and its taking far too long to get here.

  8. Just another lie hoisted on the taxpayers who you clowns wish were dumber than they are. The most important component of being a “bedroom” community is low crime, not a fancy train. Try again – Jay?

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