Regional Transit Authorities would be no more, under a measure inserted Tuesday into the proposed state budget. Joint Finance Committee co-chair Robin Vos (R-Burlington) called the bodies that can raise taxes to improve local transit systems “abominations.”
Vos says they were created wrong, are unaccountable, and not responsive to the public. In their current form, he says they can be responsible for hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax increases without the say of the people.
The measure would eliminate RTAs created in the last state budget for the Chequamegon Bay, Chippewa Valley, Dane County, and Southeastern regions. Dane County and a Southeastern RTA have been formed, but the other areas have not yet set up their own RTAs.
State Representative Tamara Grigsby (D-Milwaukee) criticized the plan for dissolving an RTA approved by Milwaukee voters, but Vos says it’s time to bury the current approach and perhaps consider another way. He says the JFC action allows the Legislature to craft a new bill to help communities that want to form an RTA.
The measure will be voted on with the entire state budget later this summer.