SERTA: Transit News & Notes

Guide to 3/11 Assembly Transportation Hearing

WHAT: Assembly Transportation Committee Public Hearing

WHERE: 412 EAST, State Capitol, Madison

WHEN: Hearing will begin at 10:00 AM AB723 is expected to be considered around noon

TRANSIT OPTIONS: Buses will be provided by the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 998. 

  • To reserve a spot on the bus contact Kristi at the Coalition for Advancing Transit: kristi@uedawi.org or

             414-562-9904 by 5PM Tuesday, March 9

  • The ATU 998 will contact you with details on where to meet

PREPARATION FOR HEARING

  • Wear green to the hearing, to show a unified group of southeastern Wisconsin constituents that have come together to support RTA legislation.
  • Bring any signage you have made in support of transit.
  • Find out who your representatives are (call 1-800-362-9472) and set up a meeting with them in the capitol before or after you testify to personally express your support for transit.
  • Write out your testimony, after speaking you will be asked to turn in your written remarks.

HOW TO REGISTER TO SPEAK AT THE HEARING

  • To speak, you will have to fill out a form and state generally if you are “in favor of” or “opposed to” the legislation (AB723).
  • If you would like to speak as a group of people or a panel, write all names on the form and nominate one person to speak on behalf of the group.
  • There will be legislative aides that will be collecting your registration card.

WHEN YOUR NAME IS CALLED TO TESTIFY

  • Clearly state your name and the group, organization, or business you are representing (if applicable).
  • If you are testifying as a group, introduce the group (i.e. we are representatives of the Amalgamated Transit Union 998, or we are representatives of the Coalition for Advancing Transit).
  • Give a brief (1-2 minute) testimony of why you support the legislation (see reverse side for sample talking points).
  • Thank the committee for considering this important legislation and for the opportunity to show your support. Ask that they show leadership on getting this legislation passed this legislative session.
  • Turn in your written testimony.

 

SAMPLE FORMAT FOR WRITTEN TESTIMONY:

 

Testimony of <<FIRST LAST>>, <<TITLE/ORGANIZATION/CONSTITUENT OF…>

To the Assembly Transportation Committee

March 11, 2010

 

            <<Why you support AB 723>>

 

 

KEY POINTS TO CONSIDER:

LABOR

  • I support legislation that would result in job creation that is sure to affect my fellow union brothers throughout the region.
  • Working families are struggling to get by in this economy. Worse yet, many cannot find jobs. The labor force is hurting and we must get behind any and all initiatives that connect workers to jobs and create new jobs.
  • Investing in a balanced transportation system will help get more people back to work.
  • It’s time for solutions, and we must be proactive.
  • We need jobs and we need your support for RTA legislation for southeastern Wisconsin.

BUSINESS

  • RTA legislation will create and sustain employment by adequately funding a regional system that would move people to and from their jobs and connecting employers to a larger labor pool.
  • Stimulate commerce by creating and supporting thousands of jobs leading to increased economic activity.
  • Offer property tax relief, but shifting the cost of transit to the sales tax, 20 to 30% of which is paid by out-of-region residents and visitors.
  • Put an end to Milwaukee County Transit System’s (MCTS) service cuts, including an expected 30% reduction in the next few years.
  • Enhance personal economic opportunity by lowering household expenses used on transit and providing alternative transit options when gas prices skyrocket.
  • Passing transit legislation this session is an essential step legislators can take to promote job creation in southeastern Wisconsin.

PROPERTY OWNER

  • As a homeowner, I support property tax relief by removing the cost of transit from the property tax rolls.
  • Without a shift in dedicated transit funding, the burden on local property taxes could increase if more transit routes aren’t cut. 
  • Current legislation proposes to shift the cost of transit from property tax to a sales tax, relieving property tax payers from footing the bill, and sharing the cost with a larger group, including visitors from other counties that shop and work in our region.
  • Most other major metro areas throughout the nation fund transit services with sales tax. As the region’s economy expands, there is more sales tax revenue. As our economy grows, we will have more money to grow the transit system.
  • The benefits of a dedicated sales tax for transit are clear, I urge you to support legislation that would allow for transit to be removed from my property taxes, and adequately funded through a sales tax.

BUS RIDER

  • Transit is facing a financial crisis because it relies on an outdated funding structure.
  • As a bus rider, I have been affected first hand by recent transit cuts, and the future bodes much worse.
  • Devastating service cuts of 30% are expected within the next few years in Milwaukee, with Racine and Kenosha on a similar path.
  •  If this trend continues 100,000 jobs will have become inaccessible by transit between 2001 and 2011 in Milwaukee and Waukesha alone.
  • If routes continue to be cut, and fares continue to increase less people will be able to connect to jobs, healthcare and other daily necessities.
  • We must invest in our communities by investing in transit.

OLDER ADULT/DISABLED COMMUNITY

  • There are of thousands of older adults and disabled constituents that rely on public transit.
  • Regional transit is of great importance for us. It is critical to recognize that the availability of accessible, affordable, and reliable transit plays a major role in determining how independent, productive, and integrated people with disabilities and older adults can be. 
  • These communities need access to medical care, nutritional support, education, employment, shopping, and community events and services.  Route cuts, fare increases, infrequent stops, inconvenient routes and county-line boundaries have made travel for our members frustrating and in some cases- impossible.
  • Without a fix to our dwindling bus system, your constituents that are older and/or disabled will continue to experience barriers to accessing basic health and medical services, as well as achieving the productivity and independence they desire, causing them to lose out on countless opportunities.
  • I urge you to invest in regional transit so that people like me can continue to maintain a reasonable quality-of-life.

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