Service cuts will be prevented thanks to Thurston County voters.

The voters of urban Thurston County rallied last night behind a measure on the ballot to save Intercity Transit’s bus service, according to Thurston County’s early election returns.

Yes – 18,242 – 64%
No – 10,442 – 36%

The measure, which seems likely to easily pass even once all votes are counted, raises Intercity Transit’s sales tax rake from 0.6% to 0.8%. Without this revenue increase, service would have been cut, we wrote last month:

The revenue predicament of Intercity Transit should by now be familiar. Tax revenues are down about 13% from 2007 levels. The agency has already cut some nonessential programs and raised fares, and is now facing a 9% cut in February 2011 and a further 14% in 2012.

The state’s limit on sales tax authority for transit agencies is 0.9%, providing room for an additional increase if even more service is desired by future voters. King County Metro, facing its own shortfall in coming years, is already at that limit.

8 Replies to “Intercity Transit Likely Saved by Voters”

  1. Hooray!

    What are the odds IT will seek to join ST in the next few years? Is there a movement to get Sounder extended down to Olympia?

    1. More bidirectional trains would be needed. Say I board at Lakewood Station wanting to head to Olympia, for example.

      Also, IT buses need to be properly integrated into ORCA

      1. Isn’t Skagit County not in PSRC? If not, they should directed the ORCA integration funds to IT instead. Better value for money since more trips are made between PSRC communities via Thurston County than Skagit I would assume. I actually think ORCA should be integrated on all public transport systems throughout the state. I mean, it’s so versatile and tailorable that integration with other agencies isn’t really a problem minus the technology implementation and the fact that the name would probably have to change.

        Also, yes, Sounder to Olympia please!!!

      2. Let’s get the ORCA problems fixed first. Start with a fare discount that earns back the $5 fee and gives an incentive to use ORCA. Add a visitors’ card and maximum daily fare (except Sounder perhaps). Put platform-level readers in all DSTT stations and at all “fare-paid zone” entrances. Putting the reader away from the entrance encourages fare evasion and looks incompetent. Fix the problems with the website, both payment problems and usability problems. COMMUNICATE with riders about the most convenient ways to use ORCA. (E.g., transfer between Link/bus at Intl Dist where there are platform-level readers, make a trip to a TVM to buy/refill your card rather doing it online, etc.)

  2. This is excellent news that the communities are supporting their services. Nice to see real Americans try to sustain their quality of life rather than tear it down in this current political climate. I still don’t see why Whatcom County failed on a similar ballot. I guess the special election must have had a lot less active turnout than TBers in spite of nearly the same type of politics, geographic distribution, and population. I suppose IT did have express, major cross-county services at stake whereas the Skagit/Whatcom express wasn’t really at issue. Good news is that Bellingham City Council are willing to have a special sub-district/inter-local agreement put to ballot to save city services and by extension pony up for the rest of the county.

  3. What IT needs is passenger f-15’s

    The sudden and deliberate attack by Oregon State yesterday involved the 2 F-15’s going from PDX to KEH in about 8 minutes. Now outfit them with floats and some passenger seats and we could have service from Olympia to Colman Dock or South Lake Union in under 5 minutes easy.

Comments are closed.