Sen. Smith Introduces Legislation to Restore Chippewa Valley RTA

MADISON – Today, Senator Jeff Smith (D-Brunswick) introduced legislation to recreate the Chippewa Valley Regional Transit Authority (RTA).

LRB-1061 allows Eau Claire County and Chippewa County to hold a referendum for residents to vote and adopt a resolution to implement the Chippewa Valley RTA. Once residents vote to approve the project, the RTA can operate a local transportation authority.

The Chippewa Valley RTA was approved by the Wisconsin Legislature in the 2009-11 Biennial Budget, but was rescinded and forced to dissolve in the 2011-13 Biennial Budget. Prior to the termination of the Chippewa Valley RTA, this model was approved in other regions, including Chequamegon Bay, Dane County and Southeastern Wisconsin.

This bill was introduced in the previous three sessions by Democrats in the Chippewa Valley region. Sen. Smith is proud to introduce LRB-1061 in the 2019-21 session with Representative Jodi Emerson (D-Eau Claire).

In response to the bill’s introduction, Sen. Smith released the following statement:

“Ten years ago I pushed for the Chippewa Valley Regional Transit Authority in the budget – it was a good idea then and it’s a good idea now. Our local officials are capable of making the best decisions to achieve local transportation solutions for local challenges.

“In the past eight years, we’ve seen Republicans in the state Legislature place far too many restrictions on our local officials. These restrictions have ultimately limited opportunities for our local officials to develop efficient methods of transportation for workers to get to their jobs or visitors to conveniently travel.

“I encourage my colleagues to recognize the value in this bill to improve local transit systems and push local economies forward.”