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TRANSIT:Prop. 1 deserves voters’ support

Letter by Dean John Artis, Tacoma on Jan. 14, 2011 at 11:53 am with 40 Comments »
January 14, 2011 2:05 pm

On Feb. 8, Pierce County will vote on a very important measure that will have a huge impact on so many who use and rely on public transportation.

The choice will be to raise the sales tax (3 cents on a $10 purchase), improve current service and expand service into the DuPont and Orting areas, or reduce service levels drastically starting June 2011 and add to the unemployment lines.

There are so many benefits to public transportation: reducing fuel consumption and air pollution; reducing congestion and wear and tear on streets; providing transportation to many seniors, disabled, students and others who can’t drive; and providing transportation to the poor to get to jobs.

No system is perfect, but I believe Pierce Transit has reacted to the economic downturn and has strived to run its operation as efficiently as possible.

I am a compassionate, conservative Republican who believes in small, efficient government, but I also have a heart and realize that so many people will be harmed by the failure of this proposition. I am appealing to my fellow Republicans to step up and support public transportation and our less fortunate residents.

To my Democratic friends, now is the time to practice what you preach (helping the poor, seniors, disabled and the environment) and vote for Proposition 1 on Feb. 8.

Leave a comment Comments → 40
  1. Yes, Dean, it is only 3 cents on a $10 purchase. Add that to the 93 cents we already pay, and you will pay 96 cents on that $10 purchase. Add that to what the county and state want to try to get from us, as well as what the feds want to do to us and we are talking serious cash.

    Sound Transit is getting an additional 5 cents for every $10 purchase because of a ballot initiative, maybe they can share with Pierce Transit?

  2. ktcmairman says:

    John, Your comment looks as if it was written for a campaign ad.
    Do you ride the bus?????
    Have you tried to carry groceries home on a transit bus or train?
    I tried. It does not work!
    I have lived in Europe and the Far East and have used their public transportation.
    Show me the true benefits of a Government system that actually works and saves money.
    Pierce transit wasted thousands on Natural Gas buses when diesel is almost as clean. (3 to1 cost factor)
    I wish we had a true system that works. The trains are a complete failure. You cannot change routes to meet demand or growth areas. The trains are struck on a very expensive right of way.
    The operating cost is outrageous, equipment wears out quickly and the replacement cost is high.
    So I , at this point, think I am voting no.
    If I can be persuaded to change, let me know.

  3. If you can’t get yourself around, you shouldn’t be living way the heck out of town. I’m tired of paying for near-empty buses. Buses belong on arterials in and between urban areas.

  4. mattersnot1 says:

    Neither Sound or Pierce Transit know how to operate a functional transit system.
    I’m voting NO!!!

  5. blakeshouse says:

    Don’t think anyone is buying the I’m a conservative republican BS. Yeah just like Nancy Pelosi is. You are feeding the socialist/neo marxist lines word for word. Both Pierce and Sound transit have shown over the yrs that neither one can or should be trusted with the folks hard earned life energy. Tossing money down a black hole is not someything I will vote for

  6. BigSwingingRichard says:

    It is going to be difficult to justify a sales tax increase on the basis that poor people need bus service. Sales taxes are highly regressive; the poor pay the most when sales taxes are increased.

    All poor people pay sales taxes, only some poor people ride the bus.

    This is a permanent tax increase to deal with a temporary economic slow down. PT can reduce service levels until more funds roll in when the economy rebounds. Not all problems should solved by raising taxes.

    I am voting no. When funds are tight, reductions are appropriate. This is what taxpayers are doing, PT can do the same. I have to live at or below my means, so can PT.

  7. lancer70 says:

    I’d like to respond to some of your comments:

    1. The total Pierce Transit tax will be 9 cents for every $10 sales purchase (currently 6 cents for every $10) not 93 cents as Roll_ On states.

    2. I voted for Nixon, Ford, Reagan (my favorite President of the 20th Century), George H. Bush, Dole, George W. Bush and McCain. If that doesn’t confirm that I am a loyal Conservative Republican then I don’t know what one is.

    3. I have been a Pierce county Republican PCO.

    4. Do any of you really have any idea how Pierce Transit is run?

    5. Yes, I do ride the bus and also use Sound Transit regularly to the SeaTac airport while carrying my own luggage.

    6. Pierce Transit was one of the first transit agencies in the United States to run their entire fleet on clean burning natual gas; and purchased these buses years before disesel engines become more enviromently friendly. As well, CNG is less expensive to purchase than diesel.

    7. Yes buses do wear out, but Pierce Transit keeps their 40 foot buses for 12-15 years. Because they last so long, they actually cost about the same as the shorter buses, that last 5-7 years, and cannot be used on most routes. This allows them more flexibily where they use their buses.

    8. In the early morning and late evening there are times you will see buses that are not full. What you must not be seeing are those times of the day when buses are standing room only. Over 47,000 Pierce County residents ride the bus EVERY WEEKDAY. Each year Pierce Transit transports over 13 million passengers.
    9. I’ve done my research on Pierce Transit and that is why I am supporting Prop 1. Have you done your research?

  8. nonstopjoe says:

    Ever wonder why rear windows on buses are darkened? It’s so drivers can’t see that the buses are empty (or nearly so).

  9. joe — I thought the windows were darkened for the same reason the seats are ultra comfy and the climate control system is state of the art — because whenever our tax dollars pay for something they don’t spare the horses. “If we spend a little more…” takes over until everything is top-of-the line.

    lancer — You’re on to something! At peak times, buses are standing room only. Great. Now we know which routes/times to keep. Everything else should be on the chopping block. If the buses on a route are typically less than one-third full between peak times we need to reduce service during those hours. People are going to have to get used to not having the bus come as frequently.

  10. And by the way, the proposed tax isn’t just to maintain existing service. PT wants to INCREASE service. They will never be satisfied. They will always want to keep expanding. If this vote goes through they’ll be back soon enough for even more money to grow, grow, grow.

  11. lancer — And, regarding the 6 cents vs 93 cents sales tax — you’re either an idiot or you think everybody else is. EVERY tax collecting entity comes at us with “it’s only 3 cents.” If we could solve all the economic woes of the county by tossing in 3 pennies one time we would all do it in a heartbeat. It’s not understanding the true cost of things that gets people (and businesses and gov agencies) in trouble financially. Anybody who thinks they can provide bus service to everyone in need by chipping in a mere three pennies should not have anything to do with running a budget.

  12. eagle_beak says:

    the more money you give to any division of the government…. the more they will spend. i bet they could find better ways of using the money they are already getting.
    i am voting no.

    God bless America and help us keep our country free!

  13. truthbusterguy says:

    The sooner we can become just like KING county, the better. We need to just raise our sales tax a little more and we can be the first to hit the 10% mark.

    Vote yes for higher property taxes and union benifits. Lets catch up with KING county.

    And you Gig Harbor folks can also help raise taxes by voting yes on the PSD Bond measure. It’s only 78 million and it’s for the kid. Property values down but taxes go up. Only in America.

  14. Raising taxes on 100% of Pierce County tax payers to accomodation 16% of them …

  15. Most of these posts,seems to me,that the taxpayers have gotten the true picture,and it isn,t pretty!

  16. Seems like most here don’t really care about those not as blessed as the norm. Mass transit helps those temporarily out of work, lost their car; those who can’t afford a vehicle; those who are not mentally up to speed to get a driver’s license; those simply trying to eleviate congestion and reduce pollultants in the environment; elderly and handicapped who can’t drive; kids not yet old enough to drive etc. Most here are probably Christians, only practicing his or her generousity in church; but in the real world, to help the unfortunate, get to their hospital appointment, they will vote NO. Open your hearts and help those not as blessed as you and your family are. If you must vote NO, can you please volunteer to take the less fortunate to their daily appointments since they will no longer have transportation? Thanks!

  17. Dmx… no one’s talking about getting rid of mass transit.

  18. When you say NO; certain routes will no longer exists, probably forever; those disabled/seniors/disadvantaged riders along those routes…..mass transit has been gotten rid of.

  19. dmx — We have, and will still have, an extensive mass transit system. It is completely unnecessary for the transit system to go to every single remote corner of the county every 8 minutes. If your unemployed neighbor lost his car and needs to get to an appointment he is just going to have to leave earlier because the buses will run once per hour instead of every 15 minutes. Or he might have to walk a whopping 6 blocks instead of two. Or, if he finds himself in frequent need of public services he might have to move closer to town. Sheesh. People want to live way out in the sticks because they like the lifestyle, but then they want everybody else to pay to shuttle them around. That’s as bad as the people who live on Vashon because they loooooove island life, but they want the state to subsidize their ferries.

  20. ItalianSpring says:

    Sorry- but if it costs me more money, I’m against it. My opinion should not discourage any lib from sending in as much money as they wish to the government for the greater good, so please do so.

  21. redneckbuck says:

    I am voting no because I feel the current system is already doing the job. In fact, the empty buses between the hours of 10 and 2 should be cut.

  22. fbergford says:

    You want to know what happens when people say no to mass public transportation…take a gander at Seattle. How do you like traveling through there during rush hour? The idiots up north voted against a mass public transportation package in the 60’s. Yes that monorail that only travels about a mile…that was suppose to go everywhere and they actually had investors behind the idea. But the idiots up north didn’t want it because they didn’t want to be a “big city” like San Fran. Now fast forward just about 50 years and it’s a headache to get anywhere in that city! Yes, I will agree with those at first thinking it’s a terrible idea, but you know stop thinking in the now and start thinking about the future. I travel between Olympia and Tacoma almost daily and I can tell you when I leave my house at 530AM there is traffic from when I hit the Nisqually river bridge all the way up to downtown Seattle where I work. The more options people have to get from point A to point B the better off we will all be! Like all things, it will take a little adjusting to, but I would rather see a light rail system in place with a few stops from Dupont to Tacoma, with park and rides at pick up stations. It would be quicker than taking the bus!

  23. I remember the days when there was Tacoma Transit. Service was adequate back then if you resided in Tacoma. The shuttle from downtown (11th & Pacific) to the County City Building (11th & Tacoma Ave) was ten cents. I do not remember the regular fare-getting too old. I think the amount of service should be dictated by population density. If you wanted to live in the sticks, then you should not be depending on bus service. I can agree to commuter service from a park and ride to relieve congestion on the highways. You should not be depending on bus service to do grocery shopping or going to the doctor. There was no problem “back in the day” to adjust appointments and trips to reflect the bus schedule. Now people want less taxes but more service. I am tired of buying a $10 item and pulling an extra $1 out for the government. At some point people will pay less in tax by shopping on the Internet. How can the local stores compete with no sales taxes, steep discounts and free shipping? I will not vote for the increase because Pierce Transit needs to adjust its commit to providing service and live within a budget. There is no reason to provide service to Dupont and Orting. If you wanted to live there, you already had a car. Drive to the closest Park and Ride and bring a good book.

  24. Just on the new today it was reported gas prices will eventually level out at $4.00 – $5.00 a gallon; these writers voting no don’t look at the future; that’s why Boeing HQ left Washington, we don’t look ahead rather only just now. Businesses will continue to leave Washington, new prestige businesses will opt out of Washington because our traffic congestion will only increase dramatically with no Mass Transit for the future and massive gridlock on the interstates and local roads, just look at Meridian and Pacific for the start of our massive gridlock! Coupled w/the future gas prices, Washington state’s economic growth will come to a standstill. Don’t think out of the box and vote NO!

  25. redneckbuck says:

    The unions and state taxes levels are driving Boeing away.

  26. redneckbuck says:

    What we have will have to do until the economy improves.

  27. BlaineCGarver says:

    I live south of Spanaway on Rt 7 and STILL I’m tapped for transit taxes galor. Not one more penny from me until you come thru with the Cross Base Hwy, like you’ve been promising for well over a decade. It’s time to buy a 250cc Scoot and get 80mpg.

  28. The users of mass transit pay 17% of the cost, the rest of us pay over 75%. How about users paying 1/2 the cost. Those of us using private transportation are expected to pay all of our cost then support a program that doesn’t benifit us at all. Now thats what I call equality.

  29. oldman4: Why did I have to pay for your kids to go to school; why am I paying for your grandkids to go to school, when I don’t have any kids! Only those who have kids in public schools should pay taxes to their perspective school district! “Now thats what I call equality!”

  30. dmx, did you vote for tolls on the new Narrows bridge?

  31. whatldo: yes I did! Even though I don’t commute over the narrows!

  32. It’s fine with me if gas goes to $4 – $5 per gallon. $6, if that’s what it takes to get cars off the road. At some point people will walk more, carpool more, take the bus more, and simply reduce the number of non-essential trips they take in their cars.

  33. So, dmx, why would you vote in the case of the Narrows for a user fee, but in the case of transit you want everyone to pay? It sounds like you want your cake and eat it too. Shouldn’t the users of the bridge be entitled to the same standard you want to apply to transit?

  34. No comment dmx?

  35. Good point. The new bridge is funded exclusively by tolls, not by tax dollars. What right does anybody have to vote yes or no for a bridge they aren’t going to help pay for?

    dmx — You need to cross the bridge a couple times per week so you can help pay for it. You voted for it, you wanted it, now pony up.

  36. rockthevote says:

    I would just like to say that I vote no. It may only be three cents to ten dollars, That ends up being many dollars for me in the long run. I am unemployed and things are hard right now for my household. I do not need to have my money trusted to the transit system. Everywhere I look, there are more taxes imposed on me. I am a good citizen and always has been. I don’t feel like I should be taxed more for the good I have done.
    I have volunteered, gave to charity, gave to my friends who were in need,etc. This is not an excuse, but I am tired of paying for failed businesses. Yes we may need this public service, but we do not need to be threatened for a decrease because someone doesn’t know how to pay their bills. I would wish that they would just come out and say “we are failing”. I would like that instead of saying they need, need, need. Do you agree?

  37. …. crickets…

  38. I do! We take the ferry to Seattle; reverse it in the evenings! I pay for the bridge and the ferry system!!!

  39. ronniew: “take the bus more” soon there will not be a bus system to take! Washington voters are always one step behind, that’s why we are losing businesses two-fold!

  40. BNC5toes says:

    What a hoot! I have ridden Pierce Transit for over 15 years and now I’m paying for it. I lost my job in 2008 and did everything I was told to get unemployment benefits. Recently I’ve learned that using public mass transit though it’s good for environment and our Governor endorses it , the unemployment department says otherwise. I am now having to pay back all of my benefits I have received during the last year and half because they found out that my only transportation is the wonderfully green Pierce transit. It is a federal crime I am told and I can never receive UI benefits again….well not until 99/99/9999. Of course my vote now will be NO.

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