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WSJ Letters to Editor 11-26-07

Commuter Rail No Congestion Cure

Commuter Rail No Congestion Cure

Wisconsin State Journal :: OPINION :: A10

Monday, November 26, 2007

The people of Dane County reject a regional transit authority. That's why the county executive will not hold a referendum until after she gets the taxing authority - she knows it won't pass.

What are the details of the proposal? County Executive Kathleen Falk is basically saying "trust us, we will work those details out," after she gets her hands on our money.

Reducing congestion is not the goal of the proposed commuter rail line. David Trowbridge, project director of Transport 2020 which endorses the RTA, told me the commuter rail line is not designed to reduce congestion, but to give people options.

I thought this was about traffic congestion. Nope, it's about options. If so, roads are the option that over 90 percent of commuters choose, and they benefit all of us. Roads and expanded bus service are not part of the RTA.

Chicago started building the "L" in 1892 when the population was 1.1 million people. When Madison's population reaches 1.1 million, we can begin this conversation again. Until then, build the North Mendota Parkway, fill in the potholes and pull the weeds in the medians.

- Eric West, Oregon

Let unpopular RTA plan die

Regarding the Nov. 10 editorial, "Close the rift over regional transit," it's funny when liberals don't get their way. They say we need to get a consensus, yet at every committee meeting there has been nearly three-to-one opposition to a regional transit authority.

More astonishing is the activism of the populous that normally doesn't have the time (because they have to work so hard to pay absurdly high property taxes) to come to these public meetings and voice their opposition.

The RTA proposal simply will not solve the problems that it proposes to solve. It will not relieve traffic congestion nor decrease our "carbon footprint." It won't improve economic activity. It's an insidious government program created for the sole purpose of growing government. That is what the RTA proposal seeks to achieve - more taxes and bigger government.

Maybe our media could wake up and start to hold our governor accountable for raiding the transportation fund. Maybe I could read one story about why our county executive and the mayor of Madison are so out of step with the needs of our community.

- Sam T. Johnson, Madison


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