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Monday, April 12, 2010

RTA bill a step forward for area transportation

From an editorial in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

The Legislature should approve the legislation to set up interim regional transit authorities in seven southeastern Wisconsin counties.

Republican legislators who support business growth need to pay attention to what business leaders are saying about transit in southeastern Wisconsin. And Democratic legislators who support jobs for families in their districts need to pay attention to what union leaders and those families are saying about the issue.

On this issue, many business and union leaders are united in their support for a regional transit system that can link workers to jobs. And they're hardly alone. Local officials who have publicly supported improved transit on these pages or elsewhere in recent months include Milwaukee Common Council President Willie L. Hines Jr., Milwaukee County Board Chairman Lee Holloway, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Wauwatosa Ald. Dennis McBride and even County Executive Scott Walker (although he opposes an increase in the sales tax to fund transit).

Nurses have written about the public health aspects of a diverse transportation system that includes reliable transit. Supporters of the arts have argued that transit is important to a healthy arts community.

And this is the moment. A bill pending in the Legislature needs to be approved by the end of this legislative session later this month. Failure to do so would be a blow to business and jobs, commuters and families.

This should not be a partisan issue; although they may have different electoral bases, Republicans and Democrats are united in their voiced support for a strong economy, business expansion, job growth and the infrastructure needed to provide the right links.

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