County to withdraw application for commuter rail project - for now

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

From an article by Matthew DeFour in the Wisconsin State Journal:

Dane County leaders plan to withdraw their federal application for a commuter rail project because a local funding source has yet to materialize.

Dane County Board Chairman Scott McDonell said he will recommend resubmitting the application once the state gives local governments the ability to create regional transportation authorities, which could operate rail and bus systems and raise a sales tax to fund them.

In June, Dane County, Madison and state officials submitted an application with the Federal Transit Administration's New Starts program for a $255 million commuter rail system between Middleton and Sun Prairie that would cost $10 million a year to operate.

Last week, FTA officials indicated the Dane County project wouldn't make the cut of projects submitted this year, McDonell said. The federal agency, which rates projects in several areas, wanted more details in the governance and financing category.

"We don't have the ability to point to how we're going to pay for this," McDonell said. "We're going to have to wait for the legislation to pass and see what it allows us to do."
The Madison Peak Oil Group supports passage of legislation to allow formation of a regional transit authority.