Monday, November 26, 2007

Random Thoughts on KRM

I have pretty much stayed on the sidelines of the KRM debate. That may have to change.

Proponents of KRM are now proposing another funding method, a sales tax that would fund a regional transportation system. At least we will have the opportunity to shoot this down in a referendum.

KRM proponents were always telling us it is now or never when they were trying to get state funding and approval of a massive tax increase on car rentals. Well now is passed and the never never happened. They are back. It seems they are taking a page from the RUSD referendum playbook.

Racine's Regional Transportation Administration rep Jody Karls likes the sales tax idea because "You're making somebody else pay for it." Evidentally Jody Karls doesn't pay sales tax for his purchases in Racine. Perhaps there should be an investigation. On the other hand, if Karls can really get someone else to pay for KRM, he would have my full support. Perhaps he can convince the city councils in Denver or Miami to fund our train.

Once we agree to this RTA tax, we will have lost control forever. Does the Miller stadium tax ring a bell. Milwaukee is larger than us. I don't know the makeup of the RTA board, but I suspect it will be weighted towards Milwaukee. Do the citizens of Racine county really want to foot the bill for Milwaukee's bus system?


traditional conservative said...

i'm pretty sure that any local sales tax revenue will be spent in the county that votes to approve it.

also, miller park is in milwaukee. KRM will serve racine. a big difference. i did not support the miller park tax increase. i do support this.

on KRM as an issue: when oil hits $500 a barrell, then it will give racine a competetive advantage over those who do not have a rail mass transit system. right now, it will cost us more as a whole. long term, it makes tons of sense. for me, it will save me money both now and in the future.

i work in milwaukee and will not be able to afford to drive there daily when gas is $10 a gallon. I'll take the train as soon as it starts operating as even $3 is breaking my pocketbook right now. not to mention having to get a new car every 4 or 5 years due to the many miles i put on it.

this is much different than other charges such as the new racine sewer fee/tax or that stormwater charge. it is not a tax-shift. it is for a new service that will evenually pay for itself over and over again.

also, i read it as funding our busses and maybe that will mean my kids will once again be able to bus it to school at parkside. i could own one less car if that happens.

it is about vision and looking to the future. for me, it is also about saving big dollars now while also lessening my dependence on foreign oil which is not only costly itself, but heck, we're fighting a war over it.

pariah jeep said...

"I’m willing to try to sell it as a tool of economic development," he (Becker) said.

And there are a number of tools promoting this -

Pariah Jeep said...

Disclaimer: I think the mayor is a nice guy – my comment was directed at the pack of hyenas with dollar signs in their eyes who have been nipping at this dying Wildebeest for a long time.

Real Debate said...

Welcome to the party Denis.

Nemo said...

In southeastern Wisconsin's war on high energy prices, the KRM is the Maginot Line. After implementation, it will prove to be an ineffective money pit, just like every other mass transit rail system in this country. Transportation engineers have told us over and over that the population density in SE Wisconsin will not support a rail system. Fixed, inflexible transit solutions are monuments to the stupidity of the Wisconsin political class.

Denis Navratil said...

tc, you may be right that "any local sales tax revenue will be spent in the county that votes to approve it." But if so, what would be the point of having a regional authority if all the spending occurs locally? KRM would serve Racine, it is true, but will an expansion of bus service within Milwaukee serve Racine? I am suggesting simply that the funding, should it go into a regional pool, would be subject to a regional political process, weighted towards Milwaukee. It is conceivable to me that a Milwaukee heavy RTA may be inclined to spend more in Milwaukee while sticking it to Racine and Kenosha in the process, ala Miller Stadium. We should at least be aware of that danger.

It sounds like KRM would be a great deal for you. It would be for some, no doubt. Indeed, KRM might also increase the number of visitors to downtown Racine which might in turn increase the value of my property. But when considering the wisdom of public policy, I think it best to consider the overall value of a project to the community rather than what it might do for you personally.

If you really think oil will hit $500 a barrell, you should sell all of your possessions and buy oil now. With a 500% return, you would do quite well for yourself.

Anonymous said...

tc -
how about bus, park 'n ride, carpool, or changing jobs?
denis -
the RTA membership is:

Caledonia Unplugged said...

Racine's Regional Transportation Administration rep Jody Karls likes the sales tax idea because "You're making somebody else pay for it."

Jody Karls is a J-Wax employee and hasn't yet seen a taxing plan for KRM that he doesn't like!

tc - I have news for you - if $3 is breaking your pocketbook, time to research some alternative career path - seriously! If you choose to continue working in Milwaukee, then you should be paying for transportion to said job...NOT ME!

colt said...

I could like KRM if only I knew how it was being paid for, how thety came up with the ridership numbers, why id KRM is such a good idea for works did Racine end the BUS routes to the parks on the I?

Anonymous said...

completely off subject here and i'm sure Denis will chide me for it, but i found out interesting that when the Walden students confronted you and threatend a boycott of Dimples a quick about face strategy and subject change was swiftly implemented.

Then throw in the defensive threat of "boycott me and their will be collateral damage" tactic was really lame.

You can do better than that Denis.

Caledonication said...

Here's a true story about something that happened to me in college. I think it encompasses several points made in some of the past few threads quite nicely.

I had an instructor who was constantly bashing President Reagan, especially trickle down economics. She also loved to tell us which brand products to buy, based on her assertion that some companies were purveyors of war. She indicated that she had no problem buying products from other countries, because (for example), GE makes military weapons. Her class was captive in the sense that we had to be there, but she had the podium. One day she tells us that she had so many friends in soup lines, because there were no jobs. This of course was President Reagan's fault. So I told her that she probably should have been buying American.

That seemed to shut her up for a least a little while.

Anonymous said...

What are your thoughts about the war? Do you feel that your fellow conservatives have been fiscally responsible?

Anonymous said...

Why does Fred Young write to all the local papers as frequently as allowed regarding KRM? Perhaps, when Fred Young was importing workers from the South for his factory years ago, people should have protested roads and buses and trains!?

Talk about hypocrisy!

Get a life people!

Katrina said...

The funding questions can be answered by common scence. The funding will go the the trans not to busses (I don't know how you people find the time to invent thses things. The tax is wighted twards Milwaukee as the bill stands because their sales tax profit is higher than ours due to there popluation being so large.

No thanks goes to Mr. Vos of Caladona for putting us in this refendom mess in the first place. The tax on rental cars makes more scence.

Denis Navratil said...

Katrina, you seem confident that RTA funding will go for KRM. Why?

Anon, conservatives are fiscally responsible. Republicans have not been.

Anonymous said...

Denis Navratil said...

Anon, conservatives are fiscally responsible. Republicans have not been.


An ideological statement...this statement does not SAY anything!

Fiscally arrogant a statement at that!

Wind Lake Jase said...

I find it utterly obnoxious that a sales tax would be implemented for trains, buses or anything else other than basic infrastructure (roads, fire, police, etc). Of course I find it even more obnoxious that taxes are paid for stadiums, the arts, and other crap even more useless than transportation. And living in Western Racine county, tell me, what train is going to come out to Wind Lake to take me anywhere. Oh, I'll have to drive 20 miles to Sturtevant to catch a train. I might as well drive the whole way.

Tell me, if public transportation could be run profitably, don't you think private companies would be interested in getting into this business? But not one - not one single train system or bus system in the country is privately run. They are all city or county funded. That's because smart business people know a loser when they see it.

Wind Lake Jase

Denis Navratil said...

anon, I am distinguishing between conservatives and Republicans. Conservatives are fiscally responsible while Republicans may or may not be. Republicans who fail to be fiscally responsible are not conservatives in my view.

Anonymous said...

Denis Navratil said...

anon, I am distinguishing between conservatives and Republicans. Conservatives are fiscally responsible while Republicans may or may not be. Republicans who fail to be fiscally responsible are not conservatives in my view.

A shell game...republicans all carry the label of IS what they ARE!

Katrina said...

Hold on a minute, would anyone here support KRM if is was supported by the car rental tax?

eric said...

There's one thing that has had me itching my head over this whole KRM discussion. I understand some conservatives highest priority is to shrink government, and that probably the best strategy to do that is to shrink the budget - the blood of the monster if you will. But, I also suspect other conservatives recognise large infrastructure type projects are usually a government function, at least at start-up, and often longer/perpetually. Among this group I have read some do favor KRM, however, as far as I know none of them have proposed funding KRM with offsets from within the existing budget. Restrict budgetary growth, pay as you go, and still support a new start such as KRM. This is a little perplexing since those who want to shrink the budget should have some ideas as to what could be cut, and I would expect their pro-KRM brethern to latch on to those potential cut ideas as ways to pay for KRM.

Denis Navratil said...

Good point Eric. I had a conversation with a Racine alderman about a year ago. He seemed dubious about the value of KRM but did not want to take a stand against it. I suggested a sort of conditional support wherein he would push for budget cuts as a means to fund KRM. Never happened.

Katrina said...

Thst is a very good idea. But I can't think what to cut.