Letters to the Editor

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PIERCE TRANSIT: Board missed the bus

Letter by Charles Overturf, Roy on July 12, 2010 at 2:10 pm with 6 Comments »
July 16, 2010 8:57 am

Re: “Bus plan calls for tax” (TNT, 7-11).

The Pierce Transit board is way too far removed from the reality of this economy. To even think of raising taxes for this boondoggle proves that it has missed the bus.

Don’t get me wrong; I do not mind helping public transportation projects get started and on their way, but I do not want this millstone around my neck for eternity. They need to cut costs from the inside like every household in the county has been doing lately.

All public projects – whether transportation, swimming pools or skating rinks – need to be put before the people as to how much they will cost to get off the ground and when they will be self-sufficient.

Yes, this means if you ride the bus you will need to eventually pay the entire cost of riding; the same goes for skating or swimming. If there is not enough public interest to make it stand on its own it should be left to private interests. And this includes golf courses as well.

Leave a comment Comments → 6
  1. The tax increase will be mostly unseen while bus service is maintained. The benefits far outweigh the dollar costs and the costs to the environment.
    Every freeway should have a lane dedicated to bus travel only.

  2. lovethemountains says:

    You cannot say that any tax increase will be unseen. A tax for one specific area cannot be singled out as “unseen” or not felt by the taxpayer. All tax increases must be considered in the cumulative sense. To consider each tax individually and declare them unnoticed is like saying you will not feel the rain if you stand between the individual raindrops.

  3. why shouldnt bus riders pay for the entire service? i get no subsidy to pay for my gas. if it costs a few bucks to get on a bus then so be it. make it a USER FEE.

  4. murphtall says:

    @DCR: thats fine if you want it to go away. the real price if fares are 14% is over $3 each way. wanna see ridership drop to 0.000001%? raise the bus fair to over $3 each way. oh. and you’ll hafta allow drunks on the road because without bus service they cannot get around in the city. i am sure you’ll find this pleasant when someone witha suspended license who isn’t supposed to drive, gets drunk and hurts someone you love. yea. it’ll be their fault. but it’ll be the loss of YOUR loved one.

  5. johnearl says:

    @Publico – “The tax increase will be mostly unseen while bus service is maintained.”

    And presumably any tax that will be mostly unseen is too inconsequential to oppose?

    This is a troublesome position that could be used to justify any publicly funded proposal. For example, If i were to ask for just a .01% annual increase in the sales tax so that I could update my house with luxury items (swimming pool, sports court, 6 car garage, etc.), would the fact that this $13M annual personal enrichment would be “mostly unseen” justify this tax increases? Don’t worry, it does some public good – think of all the construction workers I would employ and the increased property tax I would pay!

    You might say that is a silly argument, but it is no more silly than asserting that the increased transit tax is too inconsequential to be argued over. Any publicly funded project should return more value than it extracts, and it is the burden of the taxing authority to demonstrate that value proposition to the taxed.

    Judging by the responses on this site, Pierce Transit has yet to make that case.

  6. alindasue says:

    What I see missing from all these arguements about how subsidized the bus system is are discussions about how subsidized the freeways themselves are. How much would it cost if we charged every driver on the freeways what it actually costs to use those roads?

    Let’s use our trip to Japan a few years back for comparison. We took the train out to visit a friend in Chiba, then he drove us into Tokyo, just under the distance between Tacoma and Seattle, for site-seeing. Twice on the freeway he stopped to pay tolls totalling 1,400 yen (about $14). When we later took a cab the other direction from Tokyo to Narita Airport near Chiba, we again paid those same tolls.

    So, using Japan as a model, a round-trip drive from Tacoma to Seattle and back could conceivably cost around $28. By that reconning, then paying $8 or more per trip to cover the “actual costs” of riding a bus would be a bargain! There’s a reason Japan’s trains and busses are so crowded.

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