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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Doyle announces proposal for Regional Transit Authority in southeastern Wisconsin

From a news release issued by Governor Jim Doyle:

Legislation will improve bus and rail service and roster regional cooperation in Milwaukee, Kenosha and Racine

MILWAUKEE – Governor Jim Doyle today announced a framework of a proposal crafted with legislators from southeastern Wisconsin on a plan to improve bus and rail service in Milwaukee, Kenosha and Racine through a Regional Transit Authority.

“Investing in safe, reliable modes of transportation allows people to travel and commute efficiently and it strengthens the economy,” Governor Doyle said. “I am pleased today to announce that leaders from Milwaukee, Kenosha and Racine have joined me in support of a truly regional approach to improving and expanding transit in this area.”

Governor Doyle has supported Regional Transit Authorities in Wisconsin that serve a population base, rather than any specific municipal jurisdiction, and are independently governed. Under the Governor’s priorities, RTAs also should provide property tax relief and be focused solely on transit.

The proposal satisfies those conditions and will create an RTA in southeastern Wisconsin that would phase in independent governance. Milwaukee, Kenosha and Racine would initially operate as sub-RTAs, with varying sources of previously approved funding.

Over time, the sub-RTAs would merge into a common board. Representation would be proportional to population. A primary goal of the RTA would be to better position the proposed Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee commuter rail line for obtaining New Starts funding from the Federal Transit Administration.

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