Spokane-area voters will have an opportunity to decide whether or not to fund Spokane Transit’s “Moving Forward” plan on April 28th. The plan includes a $72 million electric trolley project. As Shift reported, the Spokane Transit Authority (STA) board will ask voters to approve a 0.3% increase in the local sales tax to fund a $72 million electric trolley line that would go six miles – from Spokane’s Browne’s Addition neighborhood, east through the Gonzaga University campus, and ending at the Spokane Community College campus.
If approved, the local sales tax would increase to 9.0%— which would be one of the highest figures in the state. And, Spokane Transit’s “share of the sales tax will increase 50% – from 0.6% to 0.9%. Spokane Transit executives will then be maxed out on their sales tax authority.”
STA is, in the end, asking voters to do what Sound Transit often asks Puget Sound voters to do: pour their hard-earned tax dollars into a transit project that does not make a whole lot of financial sense. And, STA is doing it in a highly deceptive way—much like we’ve come to expect from Sound Transit.
In fact, the similarities between the two transit agencies’ campaigns are hard to ignore—as the Washington Policy Center recently discovered. The Washington Policy Center,
“In the effort to convince voters to say “yes,” it appears even the “Yes For Buses” transit campaign is confused about what exactly their measure would do.
“Under the “about” tab on the campaign’s website, supporters encourage Spokane to “move our economy forward” by helping… Sound Transit? The multi-billion dollar transit agency is located and operates transit and a light rail system in the Puget Sound region…
“How would a yes vote on a Spokane ballot measure impact Sound Transit? And how would helping Sound Transit provide economic “forward” movement in Spokane County? The answer, of course, is that it wouldn’t.
“It appears the same interest group campaign that continually pushes for major tax increases to fund Sound Transit is doing the same for Spokane Transit this year. They apparently just forgot to update their text.
“If the Spokane Transit campaign is going to recycle Seattle-area political talking points, they could at least hire a few proofreaders. And hopefully the association with Sound Transit doesn’t mean Spokane residents can expect a similar trail of broken promises.”