Re: “Ballot-shy Pierce Transit risks vicious cycle of cuts” (editorial, 5-24).
The editorial presumes that East Pierce County would not see transit service ever again after Pierce Transit’s service cuts in October. I don’t buy the argument. Cities can and do contract out for transit services all the time.
For example, Auburn’s Sounder connector bus (Pierce Transit Route 497), is provided by contract with the city. In Bellingham, Sunday service is funded using a voter-approved transportation benefit district (TBD). In Olympia, late-night service to The Evergreen State College is even funded by student-approved contributions.
It’s possible that the communities affected by Pierce Transit’s cuts, after de-annexing, could create a TBD and collect sales taxes to contract out to a non–profit or private company. Communities like Bonney Lake would then receive a commensurate amount of service for the money they put in, as well as have more local control over routes and destinations.
The flip side of this would be that Pierce Transit then would not have to appeal to voters who rejected Proposition 1 by 2 to 1 margins. In this way, East Pierce’s withdrawal from Pierce Transit may be better for both suburban and urban in the long run.