Ald. Allen says Fitchburg has long planned a commuter rail line that would run from the city of Madison to "Green Tech Village," a sustainable, mixed-use development Fitchburg wants to build on its east side.
"This is going to be a transit-oriented development," he promises.
The rail line could become part of Dane County's proposed commuter rail system. Or Fitchburg might contract with Madison Metro to run it.
Allen hopes to pay for the line with a Regional Transit Authority - if the state Legislature allows one and if county residents approve a referendum creating it. An RTA would have its own taxing ability.
If the RTA fails, then Fitchburg will look at creating a tax-increment financing district to help pay for it. "Some of it will be paid for by riders," says Allen.
The city already owns the rail lines, and Allen envisions commuter rail eventually going from Fitchburg to Oregon or Brooklyn. Fitchburg got a state grant to upgrade the tracks and plans a feasibility study next year. Says Allen, "We're rolling."