Our Friends at Whatcom Transportation Authority are going to the voters this April to ask them for a .2% sales tax increase (bringing them to .8%). Like most transit agencies across the state WTA is facing rapidly declining sales tax revenues due to the lagging economy. The WTA board recently decided to go the voters to increase their sales tax and hopefully stave off pending service cuts.
They recently released a poll that 56% of the county's residents are willing to pay more taxes to preserve service. This is great news for the potential success for the measure but there is still a long fight ahead for this important campaign. Jared at the Bellingham Herald has an informative piece on the poll today here.
Jared is an intelligent local reporter with keen insight on transportation issues. His Blog has already covered the political back and forth between proponents and opponents of the campaign, which is well worth the read.
Lastly, there will be a citizen's forum on Saturday to discuss the future of transportation in Bellingham, where surely the tax measure will be one of the many topics discussed. It looks to be an interesting discussion!
On a personal note, as a son of Bellingham and a frequent visitor of my cycling/transit friendly city to the North, I very much am looking forward to helping pass this important ballot measure. WTA has done an incredible job in the past few years increasing high frequency routes and building a strong demand of choice riders the medium sized city of Bellingham. Last year ago they had the highest percentage ridership growth in the Country. To loose those impressive gains and be forced to leave riders waiting on the side of the road would be a true shame.