|Results from Pierce Transit Prop 1 - February 2002|
Picture this for a moment: It's 2002, Tim Eyman's Initiative 695 has passed and been found unconstitutional, but it doesn't matter. The State Legislature in cowardice, eliminates the one progressive tax in Washington State, the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax, and limits car tabs to $30 per year. This cuts transit funding statewide and deepens Pierce Transit's reliance on the sales tax.
38% of Pierce Transit's revenues are now gone. Service has been cut roughly 20% in order to slow the rate at which reserves are drained. Pierce Transit puts together a revenue measure of an additional 0.3% to restore service back to its original trajectory. And what happens?
The suburbs vote it down - namely Buckley, Bonney Lake, Orting, South Hill, and unincorporated mid-county.
At the same time, Tacoma pulls Pierce Transit through, with a margin of 54% yes / 46% no. Skip forward nine years.
Has anything changed since 2002?
|Pierce Transit Prop 1, Feb 2011. Red = Failed Transit votes in 2007, 2008, 2011. Eerily familiar to Feb 2002.|
In the last ten years Pierce County's unincorporated population has mushroomed. In South Hill, the population increased 65.8%. Tacoma's growth rate hasn't kept pace, only increasing a paltry 2.5%. So generally speaking, that's a lot more no votes than Tacoma's urban pro-transit voters can handle.
If voters in the suburbs say get rid of transit funding in 1999 and then reject additional transit funding in 2002, say no again in 2007, no in 2008, and no in 2011, why should we expect a yes under any circumstances?