No county rail tax referendum this fall

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

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

The last chance for a countywide commuter rail sales tax referendum in November died in committee Tuesday despite calls from rail opponents to let the public be heard.

About 30 people spoke at the County Board’s Public Works and Transportation Committee meeting, all of them supporting a proposal to ask voters whether they supported a half-cent sales tax for commuter rail between Middleton and the town of Burke.

Expressing a common criticism, Colleen Curtin, a single mother from Madison’s West Side, said she wouldn’t take the commuter train to work in McFarland because it would be too difficult to pick up her child from daycare. She said it felt like the $250 million commuter rail proposal was being “shoved down our throats.”

“We feel hopeless, that we have no voice,” Curtin said. “And you guys are demonstrating that even more by pushing off this referendum.”

The committee’s 2-2 vote prevented the resolution from advancing to the County Board. Committee chairman Sup. Matt Veldran, of Madison, said the Regional Transit Authority is working on a transit plan that must be completed before a vote can be taken.

“I fully believe there will be a vote,” Veldran said. “I understand the frustration, but I believe the RTA is what I approved and I would like them to come up with a complete question.”