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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Rallying support for rail service

From an article by Joe Potente in the Kenosha News:

MILWAUKEE — A summit on regional transit sounded something like a pep rally for public transportation by the time it wrapped up Friday.

A panel of transit backers from Kenosha, Racine and Milwaukee didn’t agree entirely on the viability of commuter rail in the region, but they were united on one major point: Now is the time to pass legislation to create a true regional transit authority with a dedicated sales tax.

And a national expert on transit and urban sustainability said that authority must be taken seriously in order for anything to get done.

Panelist Eric Isbister was blunt. Isbister said a lack of public transit near his Mequon-based business shuts his company off from many car-less members of an enormous workforce a few miles south in Milwaukee.

“We’ve got to stop romancing this issue,” said Isbister, chief executive officer of General MetalWorks Corp., a Mequon-based metal fabrication firm. “We’ve got to get results.”

Said Deborah Blanks, chief executive officer of the Milwaukee Social Development Commission: “It’s about access and opportunity. It’s a connector to prosperity.”

The summit, at the Italian Conference Center, was presented by the Urban Economic Development Association of Wisconsin, the Greater Milwaukee Committee and the city of Milwaukee.

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