Tuesday, February 28, 2012

State Legislature Considering Transit Funding

The State House is expected to consider ESSB 6582 (click view by bills) this week, a bill that could grant transit agencies authority for a portion of motor vehicle excise tax (MVET) funding.

The bill is written to give counties new authority to ask voters for this funding option for transportation purposes, but recent amendments have bolstered the chances for struggling transit agencies to receive a share.

ESSB 6582, as written, says that before preparing the ballot measure for up to a one-percent MVET, the county legislative authority (in our case the Snohomish County Council) shall talk to the transit system/s in its area and establish a collaborative process.

This means that an agreement could be reached whereby the transit agency would receive some portion of the requested MVET funding. Why would a county do this? Perhaps to improve the measure's chances at the ballot by presenting it as a legitimate "roads and transit" effort.

The bill also says that if a county does not impose a local MVET of up to one-percent by December 31, 2013, the transit systems within that county may impose up to one-half of the county's one-percent, and that a county may waive the December 31, 2013, deadline.

Meaning that if the county waits for a vote or simply decides not to go for a vote of MVET funds by Dec. 13, 2013, the transit agency in that county can seek such a measure for up to 0.5 percent.

None of these options guarantee funding for transit agencies. They require a public vote and some measure of cooperation with the county. But for an agency like Community Transit, there is no other option for substantial additional revenue.

ESSB 6582 is in the House Rules Committee now awaiting a floor vote. The 2012 legislative session is due to end on March 8.


  1. I and many of the other transit riders I've spoken with support ESSB 6582. I've also shared this with some friends who don't regularly ride transit and they also support this for they know the overall value of a strong transit system.

    Lets all call our legislators and get this passed! This is a very important bill and needs to be passed. There are so many of us in Snohomish County who rely on transit and with these recent service cuts due to a lack of funding, many of us don't have as many transit options. Transit agencies like Community Transit need more funding so additional service can be added once again. We also need to add service again on Sundays and holidays when funding becomes available again.
    Lets work together to encourage our legislators to pass this bill.
    Even people who don't use transit benefit by it due to less traffic congestion on our roadways.
    Thank you for listening.

  2. If there is a public vote I doubt it would pass, people do not trust govt. to properly spend additional tax money. More than half the employees at community transit are not bus drivers, we want more buses on the road, not more people behind a desk.

  3. It is true that not every employee at Community Transit drives a bus. Drivers, operations supervisors, dispatchers and maintenance workers make up 70 percent of the agency's workforce. The other 30 percent includes service planners, customer service reps, payroll, HR, training staff as well as other administrative employees.

    1. martin you are incorect,you are saying there is only about 180 admin people?there are about 250 drivers i belive,that means there are more than 200 sups mechanics and dispatchers,am i wrong? the truth to the taxpaying public would be nice

    2. martin I just did some math and your numbers can't be right
      250 drivers...lets say 100 mechanics supervisors and dispatchers...ok that's 350
      OK if that makes up %70 of the work force how do you fill the other 125 different job titles listed on community transits web site with less than 125 employees? is there job openings because I would like to apply. the truth would be nice..after all remember who pays your wages...yes martin ,the public,the people you serve

  4. Yeesh Anonymous at 9:32. Are you expecting the drivers to change the oil on the buses too? Do you want them to just decide when and where to go? Do you want them to take the farebox money to the bank?

  5. UPDATE: Both bills are in conference committee, meaning Senators and Representatives are talking about their differences and trying to work out what to send to the floor for a vote, if at all. There is potential movement on a budget, which is the main item of business to complete, so if that gets done they may all consider mission accomplished and close the session. We'll wait and see if any transit funding comes out of the legislature this year.

  6. martin thanks again for not publishing my last post about your companies employee ratio...I have researched CT and have talked to a few drivers to and your numbers don't add up..your company has laid off more than 120 drivers,dishpatch and supervisors in the past 2 years and the number of administration employees lost I can count on one hand... I know this will not be posted but as lost as you read it and your companys administration can sleep well at night knowing they are lying to the public...yes the same public that pays all those 6 figure salaries...thanks for all the fabricated facts Martin...keep up all your publicly funded salary good work.