From a story by David Steinkraus in The Journal Times (Racine):

A group representing three local counties and the governor is proposing a sales tax of up to .5 percent to fund public transit.

It’s easy to get lost in the details, but no one should ignore the magnitude of what happened on Monday morning, said Jody Karls, the city of Racine representative on the Regional Transit Authority.

What the RTA voted to do on Monday was ask the state to make it the permanent transit oversight body for southeast Wisconsin and to give it power to levy local sales taxes of up to 0.5 percent in each member area. That tax would fund the extension of Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee commuter rail service from Kenosha through Racine and to Milwaukee, and would fund other transit modes such as city bus systems.

Beyond those specifics, Karls said, is the over-arching importance of having all the counties and municipalities along the potential KRM corridor speaking with a single voice.

He and other officials met with The Journal Times editorial board on Monday morning, a few hours after the RTA voted on its recommendations. It has a Nov. 15 deadline to report to Gov. Jim Doyle and the Legislature, and it would be up to them to grant the RTA’s requests.