Conservatives in Dane County recently held a celebration to dance on the grave of the regional transit authority, which was killed as part of Gov. Scott Walker's budget. The RTA was created in 2009 to oversee the county's transportation planning, with the power to levy a half-cent sales tax to fund mass transit, including commuter rail.
Conservatives made a cause of defeating the RTA because they saw it as taxation without representation and a ruse for more restrictive land-use policies.
"Celebrate the repeal of the RTA and commuter rail!" said an invitation sent out by Dane County Supv. Eileen Bruskewitz.
The party, which was held July 20 at Rex's Innkeeper in Waunakee, was also a strategizing session. "The ink is barely dry on the RTA repeal and they want a new one," the invite noted. "The 'trainiacs' never give up and neither can we."
State Rep. Kelda Helen Roys (D-Madison) does want to establish another RTA in Dane County. This time she's addressing conservatives' concerns by requiring any RTA plan get approval from voters - something Gov. Scott Walker has said he'd support.
Roys expects to introduce a bill in August, but she's not particularly hopeful it will pass: "The Republicans have shown a great deal of hostility not just to Dane County but to these cooperative ways of planning."
Though not completely opposed to regional planning, Bruskewitz remains skeptical: "These are taxing authorities that collect lots of money and find ways to spend it."