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University Place Patch reports that contraction of the Pierce Transit Benefit Area, which we last reported on here, passed the “Public Transportation Improvement Conference” Thursday night.

The County Council has 30 days to terminate the revised boundaries – in which case they will remain as they currently are – and cities have 60 days to withdraw from the revised Public Transportation Benefit Area (PTBA). Otherwise, pending approval from the County Auditor and Department of Revenue, the new boundaries will take effect in 61 days.

“Silence is a ‘yes’ in this case,” said committee assistant Justin Leighton in a presentation that preceded public testimony at the transit agency’s training center. He added that the County Council cannot change the boundary lines from those being proposed. “It’s either all of it or none of it at all.”

We’re down to the last two steps of a complicated process, as I outlined last year.  Spokesman Lars Erickson said that after cutting service and losing the tax revenue, PT “will have less money after everything is considered.” However, this contraction is designed to increase the likelihood of a tax increase passing.

9 Replies to “PT Contraction Almost Complete”

  1. RCW 36.57A.030 – Establishment or change in boundaries of public transportation benefit area

    Within thirty days of the adoption of such conference resolution, the county legislative authority of each county wherein a conference has established proposed boundaries of a public transportation benefit area, may by resolution, upon making a legislative finding that the proposed benefit area includes portions of the county which could not be reasonably expected to benefit from such benefit area or excludes portions of the county which could be reasonably expected to benefit from its creation, disapprove and terminate the establishment of such public transportation benefit area within such county.

    Echoing Mr. Leighton, even if the County wanted to change the boundary, it can’t. All they can do is torpedo the whole process – which would be a high political cost given the fact that it was approved unanimously last week.

    1. I would think that if 6582 actually does pass, that it will provide another option. PT could try a 1% MVET and only go for a 0.2% sales tax increase. It opens up options. The actual map isn’t official until May 8th or so, which corresponds roughly when that law would come into effect, allowing the Board to act on a ballot measure in June or July.

    2. No. Voters in the areas that are leaving PT are not likely going to vote for it anyway.

  2. Rural Pierce County voters have never supported transit, however urban Pierce County has. With that, even among local transit supporters, there is a politcal undercurrent that resents Seattle-centric transit planning. Rightly or wrongly, that perception is still well entrenched. I believe that Tacoma voters would overwhelming approve a Tacoma-centric transit plan, especially if it includes a meaningful extension to Tacoma Link.

  3. I think this whole boundary reduction process opens up a good discussion about what exactly does a community need. Personally, I think in a lot of these areas that are being excluded that the traditional model of local service with some kind of express/rail overlay just doesn’t work. The areas are traditionally low ridership “rural” areas in terms of local service, and the majority of the transit riders are using transit to connect to the express bus or rail service.

    What if instead of having both local and express service to a community, the express service was modified to serve both purposes? In some cases maybe you have a limited number of major stops added en-route, or you extend the express route from its terminal so that it has a local circulator tail-like piece, making a few major stops and maybe ending at a smaller P&R lot to give people more options. I think this has two good purposes, those who are now excluded from having a traditional local service, have more access points to the express service, so they don’t have to walk or ask for a ride as far as they did in the past. The commuters will also have more options of either walking or driving to a closer P&R lot, which is important with gas prices being as high as they are. The cost of providing this type of service would be far less than having a dedicated local bus, and would probably serve the sprawling car-centric areas a lot better than a traditional local bus would as well.

    1. Mr. Z – its TO LATE – They are gone…gone gone…! BYE BYE East County and don’t let the screen door hit you on the butt on the way out!

      1. Actually, both major cities in the east county that opted out are still in the RTA boundaries, so i dont think their saga is quite over yet.

    2. It’s not too late for east Pierce County to set up its own bus service with whatever it wants, and it probably will.

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