Regional transit authorities are good for bicycling

The Bike Fed has taken a position in favor of a bill (Senate Bill 259) in the state legislature creating a regional transit authority in the Fox River Valley. The bill would allow the new RTA to create a sales tax of up to a half-cent to fund transit capital investments and operations. A referendum would be required to create the RTA.

While the legislation does not allow funds to be used for things like bike trails or lanes, it does allow for more resources to go for items such as bike carriers on busses and probably for bike parking at transit facilities.

Even more importantly, a strong transit system is good for bikers. It gives riders options when time is short or the weather is bad. And as the state gas tax starts to lag as a funding source for roads and transit systems, you can expect that transit and bikes will continue to be squeezed out by road building. That’s a trend we’re fighting here at the Bike Fed, but frankly until the legislature comes up with new funding sources we’re fighting an uphill battle.

So RTA’s are one answer. In fact, they are such a good idea that we believe communities all over the state should have the option to create a RTA if they want one. There’s really no reason to restrict this good idea to the Fox Valley.

Senate Bill 259 passed the State Senate on an overwhelming 25-7 vote on February 11th. It now moves on to the Assembly.

About Dave Cieslewicz, Executive Director

Dave Cieslewicz served two terms as mayor of Madison where he set the city on a path for Platinum status as one of the best biking cities in North America. Before that he started his own nonprofit, 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, which focuses on land use and transportation policy. He has been an adjunct professor at the UW Madison's Department of Urban and Regional Planning where he teaches a class called Bikes, Pedestrians and Cities. He pronounces his name chess LEV ich, but nobody else does.

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