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Citizens write to the Joint Finance Committee in support of a Regional Transit Authority
These letters were written to the State Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee.
This committee is working with Governor Doyle’s proposed budget, which allows local authority to create Regional Transit Authorities in several areas of Wisconsin.
Last updated: March 30, 2009
I am a workforce development professional residing in Milwaukee County and providing employment and training services for an agency that serves a six county SE Wisconsin area.
One of my job duties is to sit on a labor development committee for the I-94 expansion project (south corridor), a committee co-chaired by Rep. Mason.
One of the incongruities of my work is that while the workers being recruited for this project will need to have an automobile to be available to work, many of the clients I serve are dependent on public transportation to gain employment. Consequently, many of them will not have access to those jobs. At the same time, public transportation is in financial crisis which threatens their ability to secure any employment at all.
As a citizen, I find it ironic that the DOT can find $1.9 billion to fund the corridor project (which will pave over more land for the benefit of private car and truck owners), yet I must plead with you for the right to tax myself to improve public transportation for the benefit of the unemployed that I serve.
Please consider approving the RTA measures that are in Governor Doyle’s proposed budget. Public transportation is a regional and statewide economic health issue and should be supported by all elected officials.
Thank you for taking the time to read this message.
Citizen using phone: I’ve been making calls right along, but oh what a difference it will make to have this concerted effort. I’ll be emailing and calling again…the template/script is a great idea.
Hello Transit, your time has come!!
Bill, here is the statement that I gave before the Joint Finance Committee on Wed.:
March 25, 2009
My name is Dianne …. I am retired. I live in Wauwatosa.
A generation ago (or two, depending upon one’s age) state funding built good, connecting roads in rural Wisconsin for our farmers. It kept our agricultural economy competitive. In the 50′s and 60′s, construction funds connected our state to the rest of the country with a national highway program. Lately, however, highway expansion seems to be out of control, while basic road and bridge repair goes unattended. At the same time urban growth has sprawled, with people in the inner city unable to catch a bus to keep a job in the suburbs. I believe it is time for a comprehensive transportation system that includes state funding for mass transit to connect city to city and town to town, as well as supporting effective inter-city transport.
I believe we need a high speed rail system not only between Milwaukee and Chicago, but from Milwaukee to Madison, and from Milwaukee to Green Bay.
Also, we need to continue the MRT from Kenosha to Milwaukee, and keep going. Connect Milwaukee west to Waukesha and other towns, along the way to Madison. Connect Madison north to Wausau. Connect Milwaukee north to Oshkosh and Appleton.
This rail connection will increase economic development at small towns along its route and stimulate the growth of small businesses, creating new jobs. It will promote affordable transportation for commuters, shoppers and tourists, and those looking for work. This is particularly important for Milwaukee, where many unemployed people could work the jobs that have gone to the suburbs or Waukesha, but do not have car to get there.
On the other hand, continued concrete highway expansion--- which many communities do not want--- takes up scarce green space and increases air and noise pollution, as well as water run-off and green house gases. Even though a widened highway may be “shovel ready” for stimulus money, I believe federal funding would be better spent on well thought-out rail alternatives.
The RTA is a good start. I support it in this budget. In the long run, Wisconsin will be better served by authorizing DOT funds for rail service that match those for highways. By holding the Dept of Transportation responsible for a truly comprehensive state transportation system, all of the people will be served.
To Joint Finance Committee members,
I am contacting you to request your support to allow local governments to establish Regional Transit Authorities. There are numerous reasons that can be presented on the importance to support public transportation. Out of respect of your time, I will simply mention a few.
Your favorable position on this matter will say to the citizens of Wisconsin that you support intergovernmental and regional cooperation, economic development and prosperity, job creation and access to jobs. In these economical times, there is no better time to bring these words to reality.
Thank you for your consideration,