Certainly by now it should be of no surprise that Pierce Transit is in pretty bad shape and without an increase in the revenues it collects, system-wide cuts will have to be made. In one of the concepts of Pierce Transit's system redesign proposal (PT Tomorrow for those unfamiliar) includes a 0.3% increase in the sales tax. This increase would be able to maintain about the total amount of system-wide transit service hours in place today.
Yet, to increase the sales tax, Pierce Transit must ask the voters to approve such a measure. Recent election results don't look so favorable for transit measures in Pierce County. Chris has been expressing concerns about how Tacoma might vote, but the rest of Pierce County certainly holds a fair sway since Tacoma has only about 25% of Pierce County's residents. Back in 2008, the region as a whole approved Sound Transit's Prop 1, however Pierce County had more votes for rejecting the measure. Seattle Transit Blog has a very educational map showing the breakdown of the vote by precinct:
I was curious on the exact boundaries of the precincts, so I made a detailed version of the map that could be loaded into Google Maps. You can take a look at that here. As can be seen on the map, being close to a Sounder Station generally meant a higher approval rate. Most of East Pierce County voted no by significant margins.
Recently there have been two other transit agencies in Washington State that have asked voters to raise the sales tax to help pay for public transit. Valley Transit over in Walla Walla recently approved a 0.3% tax increase. However, up north, voters narrowly rejected a similar measure to increase the sales tax 0.2% in Whatcom County despite favorably margins in Bellingham.
For Pierce Transit there are a number of timing issues that could have a big impact. There is the potential impact of a few cities that have discussed seceding from Pierce Transit. If it turns out these cities can secede, would they do so before or after a vote? As for Pierce Transit, there is enough money until about 2012 when cuts will have to occur if no new funding is found.