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Budget panel eliminates RTAs around state

A Metra commuter rail train leaves a station in a northern Chicago suburb recently. A budget committee on Tuesday did away with regional transit authorities around the state. (AP File photo)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Legislature’s budget-writing committee has wiped out four regional transit authorities around the state.

The last state budget allowed for the creation of so-called RTAs in the Chippewa Valley, the Chequamegon Bay region and Dane County. The authorities can levy taxes to give money to local transportation systems, although only the Dane County authority exists.

The budget also created an RTA for a commuter rail line linking Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha. That RTA is authorized to impose fees on rental cars in the three counties.

The budget committee voted 12-4 to eliminate all four RTAS three months after the current budget is published.

Rep. Robin Vos, the committee’s co-chairman, said the authorities can levy millions in taxes with no public input. Rep. Tamara Grigsby said people want the RTAs.

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