City of

District 18

Alder Rebecca Kemble

Image of Alder Rebecca Kemble

Alder Rebecca Kemble

Contact Information

Home Address:

4217 School Rd
Madison , WI 53704

Council Office

Common Council Office:
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Room 417
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
WI Relay Service

Alder Kemble’s Blog

Motor Vehicle Registration Fee

October 29, 2019 7:35 PM

This evening I voted to pass a Motor Vehicle Registration Fee of $40 to help balance our City's budget, continue to fund our city services, and begin to build out the robust public transit system that is absolutely essential for our growing region. I voted in support of Alder Foster's amendment that lowered the proposed fee to $35, but that failed on an 11-7 vote with one abstention.

When I first ran for office in 2015 I talked to neighbors about needing to find new ways to take care of each other, our public services and the commons - land and water - given the cumulative effect of cuts in state and federal aids to cities. Tonight at our Council meeting the Finance Director shared with us this graph that shows in a dramatic fashion the real losses we have incurred over time in terms of shared income tax revenue and payments in the Expenditure Restraint Program:

Shared Revenue-Expenditure Restraint LossesFor decades we have been doing more with less, finding savings and new revenue streams where we can. Last year Mayor Soglin considered including a $17 motor vehicle registration fee in his budget, but that was rejected. However, we were warned that this year's budget would be much more challenging, and that has turned out to be the case. We simply cannot continue to provide the same level of services and move forward on our priorities with an $11 million budget gap.

I have heard from many people about the regressive nature of this fee, the impact an extra $40/year will have on tight family budgets, and the unfairness of charging Madison residents for a transit system and services that are used by people who do not reside in the city. I agree with those critiques of the fee. Alder Foster's amendment attempted to find more savings to reduce the fee. Unfortunately a majority of our colleagues voted that down.

In conversations about the motor vehicle registration fee with the Mayor and our Transportation Director, Tom Lynch, I strongly advocated for immediate improvements to Metro service on the outskirts, particularly on the Northside. I'm happy to say that part of this year's budget includes a route study to optimize and improve service to our Northside neighborhoods, in addition to taking the next step toward building a more efficient transit system for all.

At Finance Committee I urged the Mayor to consult with the County Executive about contributing revenues collected by the already existing county motor vehicle registration fee toward the operation and development of our regional transit system, reducing the burden on the City for a system that benefits many county residents.

On Tuesday, November 12 and 13 the Council will take up the Capital and Operating budgets, as amended by the Finance Committee. 


Tags: BRT, budget

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