State Rep. Peter Barca
Press Release

Connecting Workers with Career Opportunities

RTA Builds Transportation Options in Southeastern Wisconsin

By - Feb 5th, 2018 03:19 pm

MADISON – Representatives Peter Barca (Kenosha/Racine), Chris Sinicki (Milwaukee), Greta Neubauer (Racine), and David Crowley (Milwaukee) joined Senator Tim Carpenter (Milwaukee) and other colleagues from the region this week in introducing legislation to authorize the creation of a Southeastern Regional Transit Authority.

“The state’s southeastern corridor represents a major economic engine for Wisconsin’s business activity,” Rep. Barca said.  “We have tremendous opportunities for continued growth on the horizon, but the key piece is our ability to connect our skilled workforce with available job openings.”

The legislation allows for the creation of a regional transit authority in southeastern Wisconsin.  If approved locally, the RTA would oversee transit services in Kenosha, Racine and Milwaukee counties.  The RTA could also acquire property, bond or implement a half percent sales tax increase in the area to fund efforts.  To form this regional transit authority, the counties would need to approve identical resolutions outlining the creation of the entity, and local voters would need to approve the action by a referendum.

“Transportation is key to employment.  You cannot go to work unless you can get to work.  It is that simple,” Rep. Crowley said.  “This bill creates a pathway for greater action to connect our strong skilled workforce here in the City of Milwaukee to the growing job opportunities in adjacent areas.”

Regional transit authorities and expanded mass transit opportunities have long enjoyed wide-spread support from businesses and business trade groups, labor representatives, and local elected officials, in addition to broad support from the general public in the area.

“While we have put forward this proposal to begin the discussion, we are open to new ideas,” Barca said.  “We look forward to studying successful transit models across the nation and building a broad coalition of supporters including regional transportation providers, employers, interfaith groups, civic leaders, and groups representing workers.”

“We need public transportation options to ensure people can get where they need to go, decrease pollution, and improve the quality of life for our citizens,” noted Rep. Neubauer.  “This is not a partisan issue and we can work together to make sure we have the solution that works for the needs of Southeastern Wisconsin.”

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