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9/4/2012
Election 2012: Washington locales to decide on transportation funds
By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor

Voters in three western Washington locales will decide Nov. 6 on whether to increase sales taxes and levies to benefit roads and transit.

Ballots in parts of Clark County will include a question about whether to raise the local sales tax to pay for public transportation across the planned Interstate 5 bridge replacement.

Specifically, voter approval would raise the sales tax by one-tenth of one percent in the service district. Revenue would pay for light rail operation and maintenance for C-Tran.

The Federal Transit Administration would be on the hook to build the rail system.

The local tax would raise about $5 million annually to pay for the proposed line across the Columbia River Crossing and a bus rapid transit project in Vancouver.

Failure to approve the tax increase could result in fees being charged for commuters to access C-Tran’s park-and-ride lots. In addition, Vancouver could choose to add a motor vehicle excise fee.

Voters in one King County community will decide whether to provide a boost to area roads and sidewalks. 

Ballots in the city of Kirkland will ask voters whether to increase the street levy by a rate of 20 cents per $1,000 of assessed value to cover maintenance costs and pedestrian safety projects.

An estimated $3 million a year would be raised to benefit pothole repair and repaving. Sidewalks would also be added to many streets.

In neighboring Pierce County, voters in the Pierce Transit district will decide whether to increase the 0.6 percent sales tax by three-tenths of one percent to avoid additional cuts to transit.

Since the recession started Pierce Transit has been able to save about $110 million through cuts to nearly half of its bus service and about 20 percent of its work force.

Advocates say the tax increase, which would raise about $28 million annually, would enable the agency to restore recent cuts.

For more 2012 election coverage from Land Line, click here.

Editor’s Note: Please share your thoughts with us about the story topic. Comments may be sent to state_legislative_editor@ooida.com.

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