Solutions

Sound Transit could build more light rail without raising regressive taxes

May 6, 2015 in Blog

Sound Transit’s demands for new taxing authority have become a sticking point in the debate in the legislature over a new transportation package.  Sound Transit officials want an estimated $15 billion in new taxing authority.  They want a 0.5% increase in Sound Transit’s sales tax authority, to a total of 1.4% (which would bring the total sales tax rate in Seattle to 10.1%), a 0.8% increase in the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax authority to a total of 1.1%, and a property tax increase of .25 per $1,000 of assessed value ($100/year on a $400,000 house).

Building more light rail is not an effective way to reduce CO2 emissions

April 8, 2015 in Blog

Three elected officials serving on Sound Transit’s Board recently penned an editorial in The Seattle Times calling for a $15 billion increase in regressive taxes to build more light rail. Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland, Everett City Councilmember Paul Roberts and Redmond Mayor John Marchione argue that building light rail is an effective way to reduce carbon emissions and improve mobility.

Under Senate Bill 5992, saving money on ferries would be difficult

February 19, 2015 in Blog

Senate Bill 5992 is one of eight transportation package reform bills introduced in the state Senate last week. The goal of the reform bill is to reduce the cost of ferries by introducing an open bidding procurement model similar to the proven method that has benefited British Columbian taxpayers.

Vanpools continue to be cost-efficient for commuters (and local transit agencies)

February 13, 2015 in Blog

King County Metro Transit’s vanpool program has finally become operationally self-sufficient. According to the National Transit Database, King County Metro’s vanpool program cost $10,658,554 to operate in 2013. Yet vanpool revenues more than made up for that – users paid about $11.5 million.

House Bill 1939 would establish congestion relief as a goal of transportation policy

February 10, 2015 in Blog

Congestion relief is not a priority when state officials spend transportation dollars, but that may soon change. House Bill 1939 would re-establish congestion relief as a transportation policy goal, creating an official relationship between spending and relieving traffic congestion.

Prior to 2007, lawmakers had implemented very specific performance measures that tied spending to measurable benchmarks to provide congestion relief. They were:

Repealing the build-in-Washington-only law would get the state a brand-new ferry for free

February 9, 2015 in Blog

It may be the best deal state officials choose to pass up this session, buy two ferries and get one free. It all depends on whether state lawmakers want to leave money on the table when it comes to ferry purchases. According to the Washington State Auditor, Washington taxpayers pay some of the highest costs in the nation to build ferries.

Senate Bill 5550 would make things easier for rideshare drivers and their customers

February 7, 2015 in Blog

Senate Bill 5550, introduced by State Senators Cyrus Habib (D-48th district) and Joe Fain (R-47th district), would establish state-level regulations on the rideshare industry. Currently, local municipalities regulate the taxicab, for-hire, and rideshare industries, while the state has oversight over limousine services.

Seattle and Tacoma port alliance reflects WPC recommendation

October 8, 2014 in Blog

After years of debate on whether the ports of Seattle and Tacoma should merge, port officials announced today they have formed a single Seaport Alliance. According to the Seattle Post Intelligencer, “The Seaport Alliance will manage marine cargo terminal investments plus marketing, planning and operations, while existing government structures, taxing authority and ownership of assets remain in place.”

King County officials propose raise to “highest paid in the nation” Metro employees

September 9, 2014 in Blog

Executives at the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 587 announced recently they had secured proposed pay raises for their public employee members, who reportedly are already the highest paid in the nation.  Workers will vote September 10th on whether to accept the offered pay raises.   The plan would increases wages by 2% over three years.

 In announcing the proposed agreement one executive reported about maintenance workers:

King County Metro Transit sees windfall sales tax revenue, surge in money exceeds estimates

August 29, 2014 in Blog

The news keeps getting better at King County Metro Transit. Metro officials are the beneficiaries of record-breaking sales tax revenues, and are seeing large tax windfalls that were unthinkable just two years ago. Back then, Metro executives assumed their sales tax revenues would grow at a meager pace, and they planned to impose harsh bus cuts in many communities unless they raised taxes. However, a rebounding economy and swelling coffers should allow officials to keep bus service on the road without regressive tax increases.

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