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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

State panel OKs interim authorities for county RTAs

From an article by Jason Stein in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Madison - A sales tax of up to 0.5% could be levied in Milwaukee County to fund public transportation under a regional transit authority bill an Assembly committee endorsed Thursday.

By an 8-2 vote, the Assembly Transportation Committee supported the bill, which would allow creation of interim transit authorities in Milwaukee and other counties in southeastern Wisconsin that eventually could merge into the existing Southeastern Regional Transit Authority. But the measure still faces a steep climb to pass both chambers of the Legislature before lawmakers end their regular business on April 22.

Seven Democrats and one Republican on the committee approved a complex, 52-page amendment before recommending the bill. Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan (D-Janesville) praised the bipartisan vote as a positive sign for the bill's chances. The amended proposal would . . . allow local governments to create interim regional transit authorities in Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha, Ozaukee, Walworth, Washington and Waukesha counties. Those authorities could raise money for their public bus systems, including the financially troubled Milwaukee County Transit System, through a sales tax or through membership fees charged to their local government members.

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