Voters to decide on Pierce Transit funding plan

The Pierce Transit Board of Commissioners on Monday evening directed staff to put forward a ballot proposition for the February 8, 2011 election to exercise the final 0.3 per cent sales tax authority available to Pierce Transit to provide funding to meet current service demands.

Over the last year, Pierce Transit has developed and refined service plans. The final alternatives were based on two funding levels: one that reduces service while utilizing the current sales tax level of 0.6 per cent (6 cents on a $10 purchase), and one that preserves service by exercising the remaining sales tax authority of 0.3 per cent (an additional 3 cents on a $10 purchase).

Since the beginning of the recession, Pierce Transit has been actively addressing the impacts of sharp declines in sales tax revenue. The agency was one of the first entities to experience a layoff of personnel — a five per cent reduction. Pierce Transit delayed or eliminated capital projects, reduced service by nearly six percent, and increased regular adult fares by 25 cents. Those actions combined with employee identified operational efficiencies have saved over $72 million.

The Pierce Transit Board also directed staff to continue to look for ways to cut more costs without impacting service until the voters have their say in February of 2011.

Updated maps and information for the adopted plan will be posted on on July 16.