Transit in southeast Wisconsin is at a critical crossroads:
Our existing bus systems cannot be sustained by property taxes. Without a new source of funding, Milwaukee County Transit System will have to cut routes by 35% in 2010. Racine and Kenosha bus systems are facing similar funding crises.
Over 15% of residents in our region do not have access to a car; on a daily basis, there are nearly 160,000 passenger trips to work and school on bus transit in southeastern Wisconsin.
The business community has rallied support around efforts to save local transit, as losing our bus system would have a devastating effect on major employers in our region.
In addition, our region is well-positioned to secure a federal grant to build the KRM commuter rail line, increasing our connections to the booming Chicago region.
The KRM commuter rail will have a positive impact on property values. Based on experiences across the nation, existing property along the commuter rail can be expected to experience a four to 20% growth in property value. A 10% increase for a one mile corridor along the KRM rail line would represent a $2.1 billion increase in property value in the three KRM counties.
KRM will create 4,700 local jobs during construction with a $560 million impact on the local economy.
KRM will also reduce traffic congestion and auto pollution, provide an alternative during I-94 reconstruction, increase access to jobs, education institutions, cultural amenities and tourist attractions.
Almost every other metropolitan region in the US has a transit system that encourages urban and transit-oriented development, and is paid for with sales taxes. In Wisconsin our cost for transit falls squarely on property tax owners.
If you are interested in learning more about the RTA's recommendations for southeastern Wisconsin to shift the cost of transit from property tax to dedicated sales tax to save our bus systems and build the KRM, please answer the following questions. Would you like to learn more about: