Letters to the Editor

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TRANSIT: Smaller tax measure infeasible

Letter by Chris Karnes, Tacoma on Nov. 14, 2011 at 5:04 pm | 7 Comments »
November 15, 2011 10:11 am

Re: “Press reset button on mass transit for cities losing buses” (Our View, 11-14).

The News Tribune asserts that if the Pierce Transit Board had proposed a 0.2 percent sales tax measure, it “might well have won.” A smaller tax measure was studied and deemed infeasible by Pierce Transit. I served on the citizen committee that studied it last year.

Despite cost containment and management layoffs, it would have combined higher taxes with less bus service in outlying areas where people ride less often and costs are generally higher. The campaign logistics for communicating with voters who would be paying more for less service would have been unworkable.

With less service, ridership would have declined even if it had passed, so our committee unanimously recommended a 0.3 percent proposition to the Pierce Transit Board to preserve the system.

On top of that, suburban Pierce County has a long history of voting against transit measures of any size. Over the last ten years, Bonney Lake and most of unincorporated Pierce County have rejected all four of them. Why would a new fifth proposal fare better?

It seems to me that the editorial board either dismissed the budget numbers and community involvement process that Pierce Transit went through, or they haven’t come to terms with their own unwillingness to back the measure, the failure of which now denies and hampers provision of basic mobility to the most vulnerable of our society like the working poor and their children, people with disabilities and the elderly.

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