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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Wisconsin to form regional authority for southeastern transit services

Yesterday, Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle announced the state has crafted a framework proposal with southeastern Wisconsin legislators to create a Regional Transit Authority (RTA) that would govern rail and bus service improvements in Milwaukee, Kenosha and Racine.

The state plans to phase in the RTA; Milwaukee, Kenosha and Racine would initially function as sub-RTAs, with varying sources of previously approved funding. Over time, the sub-RTAs would merge into a common RTA board, with representation proportional to population.

The RTA would be independently governed and “support a truly regional approach to improving and expanding transit in this area,” Doyle said in a prepared statement.

The RTA’s primary goal: better position the proposed $200 million Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee (KRM) commuter-rail line to obtain New Starts funding from the Federal Transit Administration. The nine-station, 33-mile KRM line would feature diesel-multiple units (DMUs) operating on existing Canadian Pacific and Union Pacific Railroad track. DMUs would travel at speeds up to 59 mph and complete a trip between Milwaukee and Kenosha in 53 minutes.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/9/2009