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Transportation

Dane County continues to be one of the fastest growing counties in the state. Since transit needs do not stop at municipal boundaries, the most efficient way to accommodate this rapid growth is through shared management of transit services. At the centerpiece of the Chamber’s transportation agenda is the development and implementation of a comprehensive, regional transportation system, utilizing multiple modes of transit, to increase our connectivity and economic competitiveness.

Regional Transit Authorities

Status: Dane County RTA repealed

The Chamber supports comprehensive regional transportation solutions, involving multiple modes of transportation. Effective regional transportation systems give employers, employees and visitors transit options, thus increases our economic competitiveness. Regional Transit Authorities (RTAs) are a mechanism to accomplish this goal. The Chamber has been involved in RTA discussions at the state and regional level for many years. Chamber Executive Vice President Delora Newton served on a 2008 special Legislative Council Study Committee to examine RTAs and their potential application in Wisconsin. The Committee supported adoption of legislation providing communities the ability to create RTAs. The Chamber also supported creation of the Dane County RTA in 2009. Unfortunately, the Dane County RTA was repealed in the most recent state budget. The Chamber continues to work with partner organizations and elected officials to pursue regional solutions to our transit needs.

Bus Rapid Transit

March 2012: Chamber Executive Vice President Delora Newton was part of a Madison delegation attending an educational conference on Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in Cleveland, Ohio. The Madison area is currently conducting a study to determine the costs and viability of implementing a BRT system in high capacity corridors. Standard bus service would connect with the BRT system and continue to operate in areas located outside the BRT corridor. BRT may operate on existing roadways, but differs from a standard bus system in several ways:

  1. Enhanced stations with passenger amenities such as shelters, benches, lighting, security features and ticket vending machines
  2. Innovative vehicles with emphasis on passenger circulation and improved accessibility
  3. Improved fare collection for shorter load times
  4. State-of-the-art technologies such as traffic signal prioritization and real-time travel information at stations and on vehicles
  5. Improved service by offering greater capacity, frequency and reliability

Newton serves on two committees related to the BRT study. Once complete, the Chamber Board will review the study findings and recommendations before determining the Chamber’s position on a Bus Rapid Transit system for the Madison area.

Constitutional Amendment to Protect Transportation Fund

A well developed and maintained transportation infrastructure is vital to Wisconsin’s economy.  Businesses and consumers expect a well maintained system to efficiently move people and goods.  And we aren’t just talking roads.  Transit, airports, ports and rail are all important components of the transportation equation.

That’s why the Greater Madison Chamber Board of Directors supports a bi-partisan, state constitutional amendment to protect the segregated transportation fund.  If the Legislature approves the amendment, voters will get their say in November 2014.

For more information on the transportation fund, read this memo by the Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau.

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