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It's time to sovle Milwaukee County's transit crisis

Feb. 24, 2010

It is time to solve Milwaukee’s transit crisis

 

It is time to establish Regional Transit Authorities (RTAs), and solve Milwaukee’s transit problems once-and-for-all. By voting for bills currently in play in Madison (SB 511 and AB 723) legislators would give county officials home rule authority to vote to establish RTAs and dedicated funding sources within their counties.

 

Creation of RTAs is crucial for several reasons: (I) it provides $20 million in actual property tax relief through the removal of transit funding from the property tax rolls. No other major metropolitan area in this nation funds transit with property taxes, nor should we; (2) it saves the Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) from certain demise. MCTS is burdened with the highest bus fares and annual cuts in service because of the twin pressures of the property tax freeze and the rising costs of state mandates. Only the creation of dedicated transit revenue will save this transit system; (3) it creates a truly regional transit system that serves the corporate, employment, and retail transportation needs of this community. Nearly as many vehicles ride into and out of Milwaukee during rush hour. This reflects the truly regional nature of transportation in this metropolitan area. Other metropolitan areas in the country have RTAs for this very reason. As the corporate executives of Roundy's Foods, Northwestern Mutual Co., Bucyrus International, and others have expressed, it is long overdue for businesses in this region have the advantages of a truly regional RTA, a benefit that corporations elsewhere in the country have profited from for many years.

 

Dan Diliberti

Milwaukee County Treasurer

 

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