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Dane County creates regional transit authority

By Paul Snyder
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The Dane County Board of Supervisors Friday, on a 20-16 vote, created a nine-member regional transit authority, charged with creating a plan for future transit growth.

The board spent many hours discussing the subject Thursday night and ultimately rejected a call to hold a referendum on a half-cent sales tax increase — the county’s proposed means of financing the RTA — prior to forming the authority.

The transit governing body will be made up of nine appointees: Two each from Madison and Dane County, one each from Gov. Jim Doyle, Fitchburg, Middleton, Sun Prairie and the Dane County Cities and Villages Association.

The chief point of contention in forming the RTA has been discussion of a commuter rail system that would run roughly between Middleton and Sun Prairie. County supervisors who rejected the immediate sales-tax referendum said the RTA members should first be allowed to define a plan for future transit growth.

Supervisor Brett Hulsey said early in Thursday’s meeting there is no guarantee a commuter rail would be part of that plan.

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