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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Budget has good news, bad news for KRM rail

From an article by Joe Potente in the Kenosha News:

The vetoes Gov. Jim Doyle issued and the state budget he signed into law Monday produced a mixed bag for backers of the Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee commuter rail proposal.

While the adopted budget retains an $18 fee on rental car transactions to fund KRM, it strips provisions allowing for a Milwaukee regional transit authority and dedicated funding for the Kenosha and Racine bus lines.

KRM supporters say the latter initiatives are necessary to secure federal funding for KRM. That, they say, leaves the Legislature to return to the drawing board to devise an acceptable funding source for regional transit.

“It definitely has an impact, because the federal government made it very clear that to have a successful new-starts application, the region would have to address both reliable funding for KRM and show that there is reliable dedicated funding for the existing bus systems in Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha,” said Karl Mueller, a spokesman for the existing Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Transit Authority.

The Milwaukee authority provision that Doyle vetoed would have allowed Milwaukee County to levy up to a 0.65 percent sales tax to fund the area’s bus system and other county expenses.

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