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Action on Dedicated Funding and Regional Transit Authority is Needed
Jobs and economic development at serious risk
The future of local and regional transit in SE Wisconsin hinge on providing adequate dedicated funding for buses and integrating local transit systems (buses) into a regional framework.
See more about why transit is at a crucial crossroads in SE Wisconsin.
The Southeast Regional Transit Authority (SERTA) was created in 2009 in the state budget to manage and provide the local funding for Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee Commuter Rail (KRM). Local transit systems were vetoed out of the RTA due to concerns about the governance structure.
Additions to SERTA are needed now to keep people connected to jobs and opportunity:
Local transit systems, KRM Commuter Rail, jobs and economic growth in serious danger
We face a pivotal time in the history of our region and our state.
While transit in Milwaukee, Racine, and Kenosha are quickly approaching a financial meltdown because of their antiquated funding structure, we have a unique opportunity to address these crucial issues and create a vibrant region-wide transit network of connectivity that is essential for job growth and to support a thriving globally competitive metro economy.
The solution is clear: RTA legislative action is needed, the time is short,
A truly Regional Transit Authority is needed now to provide the dedicated funding source and regional framework for buses that is needed to keep transit systems viable and keep people connected to jobs, grow new jobs, and spark economic growth.
Although RTA legislation that would give local communities the ability to vote and make decisions on transit enjoyed one of the broadest coalitions working to advance the bill, the RTA bill missed passage by just a couple of votes. See more.
Learn more about RTA legislative hearing.
See reactions from leaders about the RTA loss.
Here's what we would gain with a truly regional transit system:
See more: Regional Transit Fact Sheet
See more: Regional Transit Economic Brief: transit saves household income, reduces foreclosure risk, and improves job and business attraction
See more about KRM Commuter Rail
Why is there a transit funding crisis? What is the impact?
Our antiquated funding structure cannot keep up with inflation and fails to provide adequate stable funding to operate the transit service that is so vital to families, businesses, and our economy. The result has been steady service cuts and fare increases over the past decade which have cut service to the bone and placed Milwaukee County Transit as one of the highest fares in the country. People have been cut off from job opportunities as over 40,000 jobs became inaccessible by transit in Milwaukee and Waukesha. In Milwaukee about 70,000 trips per day are taken for work purposes. Transit cuts will impact employers and workers alike and hurt our ability to be competitive in attracting jobs and businesses and economic growth.
Clearly we need to get smarter about how to invest in our transportation system. Metro Milwaukee in one of just a couple of peer metro areas where transit does not have a dedicated transit funding source. As costs to provide transit service rise—as with any business—local, state, and federal revenues have not kep up with inflation. The result is continual service cuts and fare increases that are dismanteling our transit system. Service cuts and fare increase cause ridership declines and further degrade the revenue base. This is the downward spiral that is our future if a change is not made. This couldn't come at a worse time. People need affordable options to get to work. Demand for transit is climbing across the country, and transit has become a top priority for businesses and investors looking to locate and expand.
Endorse Regional Transit Autorities and dedicated funding for transit.