The Spokane Transit Authority (STA) board will ask voters in the service areas to approve a major sales tax hike this April. As Shift previously reported, voters will be asked 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%— that’s 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.”
But, that’s not enough for the transit agency and certain legislators in Olympia. The Washington Policy Center reports that legislators—Democrats and transit advocates—have pushed for the inclusion of “$10 million in state transportation funds for the electric trolley in Spokane” in the state Senate transportation package. In other words, state drives would be asked to further subsidize public transit by partially funding the extremely unnecessary trolley project via the gas tax and other fees they pay.
The state Senate’s transportation package will be undergoing changes in the coming week. As the Washington Policy Center writes, “Hopefully, those changes will include allocating tax and fee revenues to highway projects, rather than electric follies dreamed up by transit executives.”