A resolution to create a countywide Regional Transit Authority is flying through Madison committees. Both the Transit and Parking Commission and the Long Range Transportation Planning Commission approved the plan after a hastily arranged joint meeting Thursday night.
But while Madison officials are on board with the plan, which (pending state legislative approval) will use a countywide half-cent sales tax to fund a commuter rail line, new roads and expanded bus service, Dane County's other communities are rallying the opposition.
A Stoughton group calling itself Alliance 53589 has mobilized against the plan. On its website, the group proclaims, "The city of Madison and Dane County are conspiring to raise your taxes under the charade of improving the area's transportation system." The group wants the Stoughton city council to oppose the transit authority "so we won't have to subsidize Madison's transportation follies."
Sun Prairie's city council has already passed a resolution opposing a regional transit entity -- even though the commuter rail line is supposed to link to their city. There have also been rumblings of discontent in Waunakee and Cross Plains.
At Thursday's meeting, Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz was asked why he and Dane County Exec Kathleen Falk had not rounded up regional support for a transit system before announcing the plan.
"As soon as we came to an agreement, Kathleen reached out to as many as she could," he replied.
And he chided Sun Prairie for voting against the plan "within 24 hours" of Madison and Dane County announcing the agreement. "They didn't even ask any of the Sun Prairie residents if they supported it," he complained. "It was literally a knee-jerk reaction."