Talking with Mayor John Dickert this week, he offered a couple of important points about the regional transit authority proposal announced Tuesday.
1. The proposal's ultimate goal is to allow people to move around SE Wisconsin without a car. Right now, that's impossible. You can barely get around Racine on mass transit, much less get to Milwaukee, Kenosha, Chicago, etc. "You need a car," Dickert said.
2. It's really a county-wide plan. It connects Racine to Union Grove, UW-Parkside and Kenosha and Burlington to Milwaukee. This makes sense and gives people outside of the city a reason to support paying for an expanded mass transit system.
3. The state is investing billions of dollars into expanding I-94 between the Illinois state line and Milwaukee. Racine will receive little, if any, benefit from this expansion. It will only help people drive by Racine faster, Dickert mused.
4. Improving mass transit, including the addition of KRM, opens up avenues of bringing people to Racine. This will help the city.
5. The federal government is demanding a comprehensive mass transit system in SE Wisconsin, Dickert said. It won't support KRM without an improved bus system, and it won't support high-speed rail in Wisconsin without commuter rail (KRM). So, basically, the region works together on improving its mass transit system or it isolates itself from economic centers that can actually help the community.