Friday, March 1, 2013

Transit Funding Bills Pass Out of Committee

Two bills aimed at providing new funding options for Community Transit have passed out of their respective State House and Senate transportation committees. The bills (HB 1953 and SB 5773) would give Community Transit authority to seek new funding from local voters.

One change occurred to help get the senate bill out of committee. Rather than a motor vehicle excise tax, the funding source is now the retail sales tax. Currently, Community Transit gets revenue from a 0.9 percent sales tax within the service district (9 cents on a $10 purchase). Both bills would allow the agency to ask voters to increase that tax by up to an additional 0.3 percent.


  1. Would this be a permanent tax or for just a couple of years until the economy picks up (if it ever does!)?

  2. This would be a temporary increase to get Sunday buses running, valid till 2018 i think, but it doesn't really matter if a bill gets passed, do you think a majority of voters will vote to increase this portion of the sales tax by 33%? Highly unlikely.

  3. As written, the bill calls for a four-year or Dec. 31, 2018 expiration of the tax. It is still early, and language can change before a final law is adopted. If given the opportunity to go to voters, Community Transit will need to explain what levels of service this measure could bring.