Milwaukee County Committee Fails to Reconsider RTA Vote
The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors held a special meeting of the Committee on Transportation, Public Works and Transit to further discuss the proposed RTA. Supervisors Chris Larson and Pat Jursik hoped to put forward a positive response to the proposed RTA in place of the committee’s overtly negative response that came out of the last committee meeting.
Supervisor Jursik expressed her support for the KRM line and the RTA by stating “the south shore route is extremely important to my community.” She also reiterated the importance of returning with a positive response asking if the committee would “reconsider the rather harsh tone that was taken towards the RTA.”
Speaking in opposition Supervisor Toni Clark at times tried to say she wasn’t against the RTA or the KRM but at other time said “I definitely don’t support the KRM in its current configuration” and added later that “I still don’t support us paying into the RTA.” She also claimed that the proposed KRM line “doesn’t help the citizens of Milwaukee very much,” because the KRM line didn’t go beyond the Intermodal Station. Finally she had issues regarding the governance structure of the RTA, comparing it to SEWRPC.
Supervisor John Weishan took issue with the media’s characterization of the committee’s recent action as an anti-regionalist and as stopping efforts to improve mass transit in Milwaukee. He made is beliefs clear stating that “our vote did not stop anything.” He also at times talked down the recent referendum’s approval, in regards to it be an indicator that the citizen’s of Milwaukee County support expanding mass transit saying “lets not read to much on the 1% sales tax.” He argued that the citizens of Milwaukee County wouldn’t accept an RTA because it is made up of an unelected board and would have taxing authority. Despite effectively voting in opposition to a proposed regional transit solution, all be it with some flaws, he attempted to explain that “this doesn’t mean we’re against regionalism.”
Supervisor Michael Mayo complained that “we want to be part of the solution, not told what to do” and added various comments to the same effect indicating he felt the County Board deserved more power and control. He made mention of his working on regional transit solutions going back to 1994 but failed to note those efforts have resulted in no progress in bringing rail service to Southeast Wisconsin.
In the end the committee’s vote to reconsider their previous measure regarding the RTA failed on a vote 2 to 5 with Supervisor’s Larson and Jursik supporting the measure.