Regional transit authorities who levy their own taxes would be allowed in Milwaukee, Madison, Eau Claire and the Ashland-Bayfield areas. It's part of the Senate approved budget recommended by conference committee. Kerry Thomas of the group Transit Now says current transit funding needed to be changed. She says service is being cut as funding sources from property taxes and federal/state revenues are drying up.
By allowing RTA's more flexibility to levy their own taxes it takes the burden off land owners who are footing the bill through property taxes. She says it allows communities to share the costs more equitably.
The measure allows region to hike the sales tax to pay for transit, which potentially opens up a revenue source not just from the community but tourists and visitors.
Thomas says Southeastern Wisconsin is one of the last major metro areas in the country not to have a local dedicated funding source for transit. She claims Wisconsin has missed out on money from Washington because there has not been the local share needed to match federal funds.