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According to the Evertt Herald, State Rep. Marko Liias will introduce a bill soon called the Local Transit Act. The bill is expected to open new transit funding options for agencies. A group called Transportation for Washington will be holding a press conference today to roll out the package but the expected form is a series of revenue raisers that would have to go to the local ballot before taking effect. Revenue options have already been announced and include: a “progressive” vehicle excise tax based on the value of the car, a car tab fee based on annual mileage, a  tax based on a car’s fuel efficiency, and — most interesting — allowing local sales taxes to be applied to gasoline.

The Local Transit Act is unlikely to advance, and Josh Fiet of PubliCola theorizes that this group is attempting to get in front of a “‘roads & transit’ package that may come from Sen. transportation chair Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen.” If transit advocates have an alternative bill to support, they may be less willing to agree to roads funding especially without elements from that alternative incorporated into a roads package.

This bill represents a long term funding effort and is different from Liias’ earlier temporary car tab proposal.

Update at 3:30 pm: PubliCola has more from TCC about the politics behind this launch.

20 Replies to “Herald: Liias to Roll Out Transit Funding Bill”

  1. Those all are taxes aimed at individuals. A better approach is to target companies. Transit is paid for in Portland (for example) by a modest per-employee monthly charge. The bigger employers pay more. Given that the primary beneficiaries of transit are businesses, that’s a MUCH more equitable type of revenue-raiser.

    1. I have to disagree. The trimet tax is disproportionately borne by self-employed professionals, who end up effectively getting taxed about an additional 1.5% income tax, but unlike with OR state income tax, the trimet tax is with no deductions allowed whatsoever.

      Meanwhile, you’re correct everyone with W-2 employee income skates free.

      This always led me to wonder that at the very least Trimet should have sent me a free yearly transit pass for taking that much of my income. Or how about reserved seating?

      1. I should restate: the W-2 employees don’t skate free – they’re just indirectly taxed in that the employer should be reducing salary by the tax rate less than what they’d otherwise be able to afford to pay their employee for the work.

      2. Another clarification: the stated Trimet tax rate on payroll and self-employed is 0.69..% ( But if you’re a self-employed professional who uses their professional services billings to employ staff, perhaps shared with other professionals in your office, the effective tax rate on your professional services billings can effectively reach multiples of the .69 percent rate depending on how much staff you employ.

  2. Sorry, this is unrelated to this post, but wasn’t sure where to put it:

    Doesn’t the newly opened McGraw Square Plaza downtown, which will help enhance connections between the streetcar, Metro, and Link, deserve a post on this blog?

    It seems like a very worthy topic of conversation!

      1. Cool, thanks for the response Adam. I’d love to hear your take on it once you’ve got some time. To me, it seems like a pretty significant development.

  3. I’m all for anything that puts more money toward transit. Transit Uber Alles. How can I help this bill advance?

  4. Roads and Transit II? Oh, Roads and Transit I worked so well we ought to just try it again – NOT!!

    Sen Haugen needs to learn from history and stop trying to play cleaver games.

    1. Cleaver or clever? Picturing Senator Haugen juggling instruments used to hack away at muscle and bone seems an apt metaphor for some of her treatment of transit projects.

  5. Sorry to be a broken record, but do you have the bill number? I tried to load the Everett Herald to check, but won’t open on Chrome. Will try again this evening from home.

    1. It takes a few days for a bill to get a number. I’m assuming they haven’t submitted it yet.

  6. How about a Roads and Transit bill consisting of:

    1. Bus only lanes and ramps, barriered off from general traffic, on major highways.

    2. Giant parking garages, incorporated into lidded parks like the one on Mercer Island, over intersections, with elevators to bus platforms at road level.

    3. Put Stanwood interchange at head of Phase I.

    Well, it’s got all the elements, doesn’t it? Roads? Transit? Put in a southbound transit lane on I-5 from Northgate to the DSTT, and I’ll ride it in from Lynnwood every night.

    Mark Dublin

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