From an article by Sean Ryan in The Daily Reporter:
A new sales tax in southeastern Wisconsin will pay for the Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee Commuter Link if the idea can overcome opposition in the state Legislature and Racine County.
State Sen. John Lehman, D-Racine, said he supports the proposed rail project that would connect the three cities, but voters in his district won’t support a sales tax. Lehman last year convinced the state Senate to include a car-rental fee in the Budget Repair Bill to pay for transit in southeastern Wisconsin. The state Assembly later rejected the fee.
Milwaukee County opposed the car-rental fee because passengers from General Mitchell International Airport would pay the bulk of the money, Lehman said. Now Racine County, which has never levied its own sales tax, stands as the likely roadblock to the KRM under this plan, he said.
“So the sales tax recommendation, in my opinion, doesn’t make sense for Racine County,” Lehman said, “and it is unnecessary to finance a bus system in Racine County.
“I recognize that the Milwaukee County bus system is very challenged, and I think the sales tax makes more sense for Milwaukee County than Racine County.”
Sen. Jeff Plale, D-South Milwaukee, said residents in his district support a sales tax to pay for the KRM and the bus system. But he would not predict the reception it will receive in Madison once biennial budget discussions begin next month.