The signing of the statewide transportation package yesterday by Governor Jay Inslee granted permission to Community Transit to exceed the maximum 0.9% sales tax rate set for public transportation benefit areas (as allowed for in Section 312 of Senate Bill 5987, specifically for counties with a population of at least 700,000 that contains a city of at least 75,000 with its own transit system). The CT Board voted unanimously today to place a measure on the November 3, 2015 ballot that would increase sales taxes by 0.3% (3 cents on $10 taxable purchases) and generate an estimated $25 million in additional annual revenue for the agency.
In their press release, Community Transit outlined where the new revenue would be spent, beginning as early as March 2016:
- Swift II, whose capital costs are already covered by state and federal grants, will use $7 to 8 million per year in op. It is scheduled to open as early as 2018. (See my open house report from last month for more details)
- Improved frequency on local routes with more trips added throughout the day and expanded service spans.
- Additional commuter runs to downtown Seattle and the University of Washington.
- Increased east-west connections within the county.
- More service to job, housing and educational centers throughout the county, including communities such as Arlington, Monroe and Stanwood.
- New routes, including service on State Route 9 from Marysville to McCollum Park via Lake Stevens, Snohomish and Silver Firs, last proposed during the failed annexation of Cathcart, Clearview and Maltby in 2008.
- Reconfigured local bus service to connect with Sound Transit Link Light Rail when it reaches Mountlake Terrace and Lynnwood in 2023, and eventually to Everett.
- More vanpools and expanded DART paratransit service.