The push for legislation that would allow for the creation of Regional Transit Authorities across the state is bringing out a variety of opinions at the Capitol.

A legislative committee on Thursday heard several hours of testimony on four bills dealing with forming RTAs. One creates a statewide process, while others deal with southeastern Wisconsin, the Fox Valley, and La Crosse.

State Representative Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) says there’s a critical need for RTAs to help integrate transportation networks. However, state Representative Al Ott (R-Forest Junction) questioned whether four separate proposals is the best way to accomplish that goal. Ott says it makes more sense to combine the issue into one piece of legislation.

Still, Appleton Mayor Tim Hanna was among several to testify that legislation targeting specific areas would help to deal with the complex issues facing each region.

Regional Transit Authorities are seen as necessary by several groups for the expansion of transportation systems to help attract businesses and jobs. Supporters of RTA legislation say a consensus is needed before the legislative session ends in a few weeks, or the state risks losing out on federal funding for public transportation.

AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (:53)


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