With the failure of Pierce Transit’s Prop. 1 at the ballot last February, the agency has been scrambling to find non-cut options, the most promising one being a redefinition, or shrinking, to be more precise, of the current service area. While Prop. 1 received rather generous support in Tacoma’s core urban areas, the vote was largely dragged down by anti-tax suburban communities. As such, shrinking the boundaries is being sold as a win-win for everyone: more political support for PT, and no taxes for cities that don’t want to pay for transit.
At last, Pierce Transit’s Public Transportation Improvement Conference has come up with ideas for a new district boundary (PDF), with a bold purge of suburban communities like Buckley and Sumner. Before the new district can be improved, however, the PTIC will host a hearing to solicit public input. As usual, our friends at Transportation Choices Coalition are at the helm of organizing turnout. The hearing is 6pm this Thursday, March 8th, at the Pierce Transit Training Center in Lakewood:
We are never going to have decent bus service in Tacoma and Pierce County unless Pierce Transit secures additional revenues. The current map proposed in front of the PTIC will align Pierce Transit’s taxing district with where there is bus service, paving the way for more efficient service in the future and allow voters in Tacoma, Lakewood, Gig Harbor, and Puyallup to vote for transit revenue (again) and restore their bus service.
Voters in Bonney Lake and rural areas should NOT decide the fate of transit service in Tacoma and its suburban neighbors. Please attend this hearing and tell the PTIC to PASS THE MAP! Due to the schedule to get on the ballot, we need to this to pass at this meeting!
Of course, the biggest concern with excluding cities like Sumner and Bonney Lake, in particular, is the elimination of connectors that feed Sounder stations. But given the existing momentum for that to happen anyway, PT doesn’t seem to have anything to lose with a contraction of its service area. For more information on the boundary issue, Chris Karnes over at Tacoma Tomorrow has already provided excellent coverage.