County Board passes RTA proposal after passionate debate

Friday, November 06, 2009

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

Metropolitan Madison residents, welcome to the Dane County Regional Transit Authority.

The Dane County Board voted 20-16 with one absence early Friday morning to create a new governmental body with the power to raise a sales tax to fund bus and rail transportation options. Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk said she plans to sign the resolution, which will make the new body official.

In creating an RTA, the Dane County Board handed over the responsibility for answering questions about commuter rail versus enhanced bus service or when to hold a referendum on a sales tax.

Those questions now go to the nine appointed members of the RTA board. Madison and Dane County have two appointees each and the governor, Fitchburg, Middleton, Sun Prairie and the Dane County Cities and Villages Association each have one.

Though the RTA board won't likely meet until early 2010, officials already have begun to consider the task ahead. Falk, Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz and the mayors of Fitchburg and Middleton signed a letter committing their appointees to hold an RTA-wide referendum before imposing up to a half-cent sales tax.