Friday, May 01, 2009

RTA Approved for Dane County

Joint Finance Committee Passed Dane County early this morning at around 2:30 AM to approve budget motions to allow the creation of Regional Transit Authorities for Dane County.

Regional transit authority for Dane County gets state budget panel OK TCT

The Dane County RTA was modified by Motion #219 by Senator Miller and Representative Pocan (see attached) in the following manner:

Specify that the City of Madison would have two members on the Dane County RTA board, appointed by the mayor of the City of Madison and approved by the common council.

Specifies that the RTA Board would include one member from each city, other than the City of Madison, with a population of more than 15,000 located in Dane County (This allows the City of Middleton to have an appointment in addition to Fitchburg and Sun Prairie).

Expands the RTA board to include one village member who must reside within the jurisdiction of the RTA, to be appointed by the Dane County Cities and Villages Association;

Total number of Dane County RTA Board members is nine (9).
Specifies that the RTA board would have to hold a non-binding referendum of the electors of the RTA's jurisdictional area on the question of whether the RTA board should impose the 0.5% sales and use tax;
Enumerate the Dane County commuter rail project in the state statutes as a major transit capital improvement project.
Adopted, 12-4. (Vos. Montgomery, Darling, Olsen: Party Line Vote) Current Dane County RTA with New Modifications

Jurisdictional Area of the of the Dane County RTA would be the geographic area formed by the Madison metropolitan planning area combined with the territorial boundaries of all municipalities that adopt a resolution to join the authority.

Non-MPO Communities can become members by adopting a resolution to join the authority and the RTA Board approves the municipality’s request to join.

MPO Includes the Cities of: Fitchburg, Madison, Middleton, Monona, Stoughton, Sun Prairie, and Verona; the villages of: Cottage Grove, Maple Bluff, McFarland, Shorewood Hills, and Waunakee: and, the towns of: Blooming Grove, Bristol, Burke, Cottage Grove, Dunn, Dunkirk, Madison, Middleton, Pleasant Springs, Rutland, Springfield, Sun Prairie, Verona, Westport and Windsor.

.05% Sales Tax Increase: Provide an RTA board the authority to impose, by the adoption of a resolution, a sales tax and a use tax at a rate not to exceed 0.5% of the gross receipts or sales price. Specify that the taxes would be imposed on the same base of products and services as the state and county sales and use taxes.

Dane County RTA Governance Structure (4-year terms):
9 Member (total)
Dane County Regional Transit Authority (RTA):
2 members from the Madison Metropolitan Planning Area appointed by the County Executive and approved by the county board.
2 members appointed by the City of Madison and approved by the common council.
3 members appointed from each city with a population more than 15,000 in Dane County [Appointed by the Mayor and approved by the city council ( 1-Fitchburg, 1-Middleton and 1-Sun Prairie)].
1 village member who must reside within the jurisdiction of the RTA, to be appointed by the Dane County Cities and Villages Association (2-year terms).
1 member appointed by the Governor


  1. Lots of questions. For starters, if Monona and other small cities join (although I'm guessing Slim has already left Monona on that one)who would represent the interests of those municipalities?

  2. Monona will automatically be part of the RTA because we are within the Madison-area MPO. It is only the rural areas not in the MPO that would have to vote to join.

    I will post the map.

    Monona's interests would be most directly represented by the Dane County Cities and Villages Assn.

  3. While I think that this could be good for Madison, I can't help but think that this will do very, very little for Monona. For Madison I understand that while the Commercial needs aren't there, it's a chicken/egg issue. Once it's built, I'm assuming that commercial applications (office buildings/parks, etc) will spring up around the stops so that residents of Sun Prairie / Middleton will be able to ride to work, and people outside of that can drive to one of those locations in order to ride into downtown.

    However, from my house in Monona it's going to be a 3 mile trip just to the closest station, and downtown is only 1.5 miles further beyond that (and most of Monona is further south than where I live). If I was going to walk/ride/drive to the closest station, it would be easier to just drive to downtown.

    Basically I want a train station right in Winnequah park, with a tunnel leading to Madison. Isn't my 0.5% worth at least that much?

  4. Travis, while the commuter train issue is the driving force behind setting up an RTA, the RTA would also be able to fund other forms of transit. It's not just for trains.