A transit panel has taken another step toward the building of a Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee commuter train. The Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Transit Authority voted (7-2) Monday to seek federal approval to start preliminary engineering work on a proposed KRM.
The dissenting votes on the panel were its Milwaukee County representatives. County Chairman Lee Holloway and Supervisor Michael Mayo believe the county’s buses need to be the priority according to spokesman Harold Mester.
Harold Mester (:28)
Other members of SERTA say the commuter rail could help solve the bus system’s financial problems. They argue that a strong bus system would be need for final approval of the train. With the completion of KRM years away, Holloway sees it differently, according to Mester. “It (bus system) is going to be a shell of its formal self in just a year or two.”
System officials say they might have to cut service by 14-percent next year, and even more in 2012, if nothing changes.
Holloway is among those who support using a half percent sales tax hike in Milwaukee County to pay for transit. In 2008 county voters by referendum approved such a funding move. Meantime, the KRM rail is to be partially funded by a controversial 18 dollar fee increase for area car rentals.