Yesterday I sent an email to several local politicians regarding the proposed commuter rail that would extend the Chicago Metra Line to travel through Kenosha, Racine, and Caledonia to Downtown Milwaukee.


While the transit authority approved a hike in rental car fees to pay for this rail (known as KRM), it went up for a vote today with the Joint Finance Committee. According to The Racine Journal Times, it was voted down with an 8-8 vote (not sure how that works…I guess if it is tie the answer is no??) Representative Robin Vos voted against the fee while Senator Lehman voted in its favor.


I feel that this rail would benefit our community in so many ways. More union jobs – which this city desperately needs. Citizens of Racine will be able to travel more easily to other cities which would broaden their job opportunities (and pay!!). Not to mention the simple fact of having more transportation options like many other cities do. Imagine how much better going to Summerfest would be if you didn’t have to drive and park? Republicans are just spreading fear that this will cost too much – that the there will be added taxes we will have to pay for. How much are we paying now for things we do not want, agree with or even know about?? How much is the Iraq War costing??


It is said that the rental car fee hike will account for the costs of this rail. Big deal. And in fact there are many ways in which this could be paid for.


Anyway, here is the email I sent….not that it did any good. I am quite disappointed in the vote today. But it is not dead yet. It can still be written into the state budget and it sounds as though Gov. Doyle supports the rail.




Dear XXX,


I was recently offered a part time position for a good company in a field I enjoy. I am currently a stay at home mom and looking to re-enter the workforce on a part time basis as long as it will bring in profit after considering the cost of daycare, fuel, clothing, etc. There are NO jobs in Racine that fit this standard. None. This position in downtown Milwaukee would, except for the costly and time consuming commute. I cannot afford to be on the road during very stressful rush hours for hours a day. It makes no sense. However, if I had the option of a train commute – that would change things completely. Jobs just are not here. Wouldn’t this city prefer their citizens to be working and bringing money back into the city?? Who gives a hoot about a rental car fee?? I go to other cities and am taxed out the ying yang for hotels, cabs, rental cars – that is just a part of travel. When traveling, you expect those fees and taxes. If not, don’t travel.


There are also other taxes that could be made to help pay for this such as a fast food tax. We all know that fast food is not a necessity. Not only is it not a necessity, but it is virtually a toxic wolf in sheep’s clothing preying on the weak taste buds of our cities. The statistics prove that people are more obese and unhealthy than ever. I think there are many reasons for this and fast food is certainly one of them. Now eating a Big Mac once every couple months isn’t going to make a difference to your health. Eating one everyday, that will. Cigarettes are taxed. Alcohol is taxed. Why not fast food? Like the lottery, this could bring much needed money to our cities. And that benefit could be in the form of this much needed rail.


When I visit cities like Chicago or Boston, I envy the fact that they have so many transportation options. Why do we have to be any different?

This rail will do nothing but benefit our community in many ways. Please consider this through the eyes of all of your constituents. Not only the ones who are retired, drive BMWs and could care less about the working class in this city – as some of the members of our legislation do.






Heather Rayne


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