With about five days to go before the end of the legislative session, there’s plenty more we can do to help.
Since the loss of the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax (MVET), many transit agencies have hurt for revenue – and today that hurt is double due to huge falls in sales tax. This year we may have two new options, but only if we tell our legislators we want them!
The first is a transportation benefit district, that would allow transit agencies and municipalities to ask for (yes, ask, this would require a public vote) a $20 car tab – not based on value, just flat. The second would allow King County to use some of our existing ferry district revenue, which is much higher than our ferry needs, for transit. This would fill $30 million of Metro’s $100 million budget hole.
In the House, Representative Simpson was able to add an amendment (PDF) to SB 5433 (“Modifying provisions of local option taxes”) to do these things, but the Senate did not concur. This is normal, it just means that the bill has to go into conference committee.
As this would greatly benefit King County, I’m hoping to see Senator Jarrett take a supportive position on the bill as passed by the House.
This would also be a great time to take a moment to call your legislators to support these tools to prevent transit service cuts! Here’s the District Finder tool, as well as the legislative hotline, 1-800-562-6000 (8am-8pm).