|Pierce Transit needs your testimony on Monday.|
The bill would allow Pierce Transit to create an enhanced transit area and to propose to the voters up to a 0.3% sales tax to fund transit service within that area. At present, there are no bills that would provide for "rescue funds" for Pierce Transit, allowing the preservation of transit service slated to be cut on September 29th.
What I have to caution folks about this bill is that it will not prevent any further cuts. It provides another opportunity to go to the voters using sales tax authority that has a better chance of success than past attempts. This bill does not provide any other taxing sources, and it may take a year or more to implement. Additionally, the opt-out provision in the bill may mean that Tacoma may end up being the only City to buy-in to the idea. Because of these issues, I maintain that using the Tacoma's Transportation Benefit District authority temporarily is the best way to handle the immediate crisis - however, this bill, if it passes, could be a good medium-term proposal. It has a hearing in the Senate on Monday - details for that are below - and you are encouraged to attend and give testimony.
Here are some key provisions of SB 5793:
This bill and accompanying purposed substitute language will allow PTBA Boards to create an Enhanced Public Transportation Zone (EPTZ) within the current PTBA boundaries.
- EPTZ cannot be greater than 49% of the PTBA population.
- Intended to benefit underserved communities.
- EPTZ can be part or all of a jurisdiction, must follow precinct lines.
- Allows jurisdictions included in the EPTZ to opt-out before it submitted to the County Auditor for election.
- The taxing authority would be the remaining sales and use tax PTBA’s have available.
- Revenue generated in the EPTZ can only be spent in the EPTZ.
- Must be voter approved.
- Must be renewed every five years.
- Six months prior to going to the voters, the PTBA must set "baseline" service and convey what enhanced service will be provided.
PUBLIC HEARING - WA STATE SENATE
You are welcome to attend and testify at this public hearing, or contact your local legislator if you are not able to attend. No hearing has been scheduled for the House companion bill yet.