Could this end up as Pierce Transit’s Plan B?
Transit advocates and Rep. Marko Liias, D-Mukilteo, are unveiling a bill today that would offer a series of new funding sources for buses and trains.
Right now, county transit agencies can ask voters to raise their sales taxes. But King and Snohomish counties have reached their sales- tax ceilings, and on Tuesday Pierce County voters rejected an increase.
So agencies may see new hope in this bill, which offers ideas for permanent taxing authority that would build on a temporary authority that Liias had previously proposed.
Asked about the possibility, a Pierce Transit spokesman told my colleague Kris Sherman the agency is so busy digesting the results of the election, it’s not putting a big effort into finding any new sources of revenue. But officials there are happy to “add more tools to the toolbox” of revenue sources, spokesman Lars Erickson said.
Under the bill, city and county bus agencies and regional ones like Sound Transit could ask voters to add taxes or fees:
- Based on the miles driven in a car.
- On a vehicle based on fuel efficiency.
- On a vehicle based on its value, with a progressive tax rate that rises with value.
- On fuel sales. A local sales tax on gas could be added to the gas tax.
The pro-transit group Transportation Choices, through a new campaign called Transportation For Washington, is pushing for the measure. The campaign said in a statement the bill “authorizes several new voter-approved revenue mechanisms that are robust enough to weather economic fluctuations and diverse enough to meet the different needs of communities across the state.”