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RTA Testimony Draws Unanimous Support in Madison...More Work Ahead
Rallying Cry: "Just Get it Done" It's about jobs, jobs, jobs!
March 12, 2010
Thanks to the efforts of a broad coalition of nearly 200 business, labor, and community leaders, elected officials, and citizen transit advocates that descended on Madison to push for RTA legislation and “jobs, jobs, jobs,” little doubt remains about the need for RTAs and dedicated funding for transit in Wisconsin, or the determination and commitment there is for passing RTA legislation in the next month. Kudos to the Assembly Committee on Transportation members and advocates alike for their respectful attention, thoughtful comments, and endurance throughout an exciting and long day 10 hour day.
7 hours of testimony and little opposition makes powerful statement
The overwhelming support for RTA legislation had just one solitary voice speaking in opposition, and it was only to the hotel tax funding source, not the bill itself. The hearing room was packed and 2 overflow rooms held dozens more transit supporters.
Mayors and business, labor and community leaders (above) from SE WI spoke passionately at an energetic press conference at the Capitol to clearly illustrate that the RTA bill is a jobs and economic development bill, and for many a lifeline to employment and independence. They were joined by leaders from across the state with the common message of “Get it done…NOW!"
In a dramatic show of broad and deeping support for RTAs, endorsement letters urging action on RTA legislation were delivered to the Transportation Committee and the media on Thursday. The letters were from unions and labor councils representing over 250,000 workers; CEO’s and businesses; and nearly 100 community organizations, business groups, and elected bodies from across Wisconsin. See endorsement letters.
Plan for RTA bills to advance…challenging work ahead
With the compelling testimony at the Assembly hearing, legislators discussed plans to roll together proposals from across the state that would unite transit proponents to advance one omnibus bill. With just few weeks left in the legislative session, this is a challenging task.
Irrepressible Advocates Speak Out
Many from the chorus of supporters descending on the Capitol began their day at a rally and press conference in Milwaukee where business and labor joined forces to rally for RTA action. Nearly 140 people packed the press conference and then cheered on as advocates piled on buses and headed for Madison (thanks to the Amalgamated Transit Union 998 for sponsoring the buses!)
Business, labor, and elected transit champions shared how better transit and the RTA plays into improving lives and business growth at the Milwaukee press conference that kicked off what was to be a great day in Madison. Speakers included: Eric Ibister (shown speaking,) GenMet, Mequon; Mike Fabishak, Associated General Contractors-Greater Milwaukee; Annie Wacker, Milwaukee Area Labor Council; and Milwaukee Alderman Robert Bauman, who emceed the event. Community leaders joined the panel of speakers on stage included: from left, Supervisor Chris Larson; (Alderman Bob Bauman), Wauwatosa Alderman Dennis McBride; Wendal Harris, NAACP; (Annie Wacker,) Louise Petering, League of Women Voters; not shown: Barbara Bechert, Disability Rights WI; and Tom Rave, Gateway to Milwaukee
Earlier in the week, Milwaukee Common Council President Willie Hines along with business and labor leaders, and transit users joined forces at a press conference at City Hall to urge action on the RTA bill and drive home the message of urgent need and broad bi-partisan support for dedicated funding for transit to save transit and get Milwaukee's economy moving. See news and opinion piece.