Thrive: Announces support for creation of a regional transit authority

Contact: Julia Popolizio, Thrive, 608-443-1964/[email protected]

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To encourage regional transportation options and increase global economic competitiveness, Thrive today announced its support for legislation enabling the creation of a Regional Transit Authority, or RTA.

“Transportation is about job creation, about how we get to work, how we connect, how we recreate, and how we transport goods and services,” said Rafael Carbonell, Thrive’s Executive Vice President. “It is about the economy and workforce development as much as it is about quality of life, land use, energy, and water. Transit needs don’t stop at municipal boundaries, therefore they need to be addressed regionally.”

Thrive’s position on regional transportation options and the creation of an RTA:

* Regional transportation is necessary to remain competitive in a global economy

— Thrive believes the region will be at a competitive disadvantage in the present and future without an RTA to shape and fund a regional transportation system, especially within a global economy. The region needs a comprehensive, regional, scalable transportation system with multi-modal uses that maximizes the use of federal dollars. An RTA is one mechanism by which this need can be met.

* Passing this RTA enabling legislation is the first step to having a more open, public and productive discussion on regional transportation for Dane County and the broader region

— The purpose of a Regional Transit Authority (RTA) is to allow local units of government (city, village, or county) to cooperatively operate a regional transportation system. Current Wisconsin state law does not allow the creation of an RTA without state-enabling legislation.

* Once enabling legislation is adopted, further public discussion will be needed to determine what an RTA for our region can and should include.

— In order to take advantage of available federal funding opportunities, to plan regionally and determine the most effective systems and technologies for the region, to preserve our natural resources and to position the region to be competitive in the 21st century economy, Thrive supports the creation of a Dane County Regional Transit Authority as outlined in the 2009-11 state budget.

“Passage of enabling language is a first step to a productive conversation about regional transportation options—public and private, motorized and non-motorized, to move people and to move goods—while maximizing available federal transit dollars,” Carbonell said. “Once enabling language is adopted, we need to continue the broader regional discussion on what an RTA for the region can and should include, and how to ensure appropriate regional representation, scalability and integration with current planning efforts.”