Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Walla Walla Voters Approve Sales Tax Increase by 76%!

2010 is off to a good start for transportation ballot measures!
On February 9, voters in Walla Walla, WA approved a sales tax measure placed on the ballot by Valley Transit. Despite only needing a simply majority to pass, voters approved the measure by a whopping 76%! The transit sales tax for the Walla Walla County Public Transportation Benefit Area, which includes Walla Walla and College Place, is now 0.6 percent. The 0.3 percent increase will help support the agency's bus system and prevent service cuts that were planned for the near future.

Locals Support Transit Even when the State Cuts Funding!
In 2000, a state repeal of the motor vehicle tax led to a 53 percent decrease in revenue for Valley Transit. The agency initially sought to close the revenue gap with fare increases and service cuts, but this only sustained the transit agency until recently. In the last year, Valley Transit has tripled fares (from 25 cents to 75 cents) and finally decided to give voters the option to raise the sales tax or prepare for an additional 50 percent service cut. As we have seen over and over again around the country, the voting public is not afraid to raise taxes to support transportation choices!