South Milwaukee KRM Public Comment

The following is a public comment I wrote for a common council meeting with an agenda item about KRM (Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee regional passenger rail). I ended up not speaking it as the council was unanimous in their support of it.

I am here to speak about item 5 on the agenda, Discussion/possible motion regarding a resolution supporting the Kenosha, Racine, and Milwaukee (KRM) Regional Rail Line.

My hometown is Racine and when I was growing up, one piece of news I saw coming up that got me so excited was that of KRM. Just the idea of not needing my parents to drive me or do a planned trip or having to wait until I was old enough to have a license and save up all that money to get a car to be able to get to Kenosha for Metra access or even to the South Shore communities or downtown Milwaukee was so damn exciting. I could just ride my bike to the beautiful historic C&NW station in downtown Racine, hop on, and away I go. In my old bedroom in my parents' house there is a corkboard and on that still to this day is a newspaper clipping about that project moving forward from the Racine Journal Times.

For this a Regional Transit Authority was established but was allowed to die by the state legislature in 2011. Since then there have been loose attempts either to extend Metra from Kenosha to Racine or simply add a train between the two cities but none have gotten off the ground. In 2022 though, Racine was awarded $5 million in federal funding to work with the SEWRPC and WISDOT to start planning for KRM again.

A comment in the RTA's final meeting in 2011 from Julia Taylor really struck with me: “It's a day of disappointment. The needs of transit are not going to go away. The needs of transit are stronger than ever. We didn't get there today, but there's always tomorrow.” I believe that tomorrow is finally coming. Please support this resolution, it will need all the political support it can get.

Thank you.