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Spokane Transit Authority seeks sales tax increase in April special election.

INBA is supporting STA Proposition 1, which asks voters to approve a 3/10 of 1% increase in local sales tax. This proposition is the first step in implementing a plan, approved in December, titled STA Moving Forward, that outlines the next ten years for service improvements and expansions across the county. If approved, the portion of sales tax allocated to public transportation would increase to 9/10 of 1%, equating to 9 cents on a $10 purchase.

An in-depth analysis of the ballot information can be viewed at www.stamovingforward.com.

STA_Moving Forward

Spokane Transit authority receives 70% of its budget from existing sales tax revenue, which is still suffering from the recession that began in 2008. A decline in purchasing power from the local population meant a sharp decline in STA’s budget and an inevitable downsizing of public transportation. Spokane transit authority was forced to cut bus routes and their number of employees. If the proposition is rejected board members would consider further reductions in service beginning in 2017, but STA would maintain current levels of service through 2016 while other options are explored.

STA Moving Forward is the result of a three-year planning process that explored increased demand for transit services throughout the Spokane region. “We heard lots of testimony from citizens about the current high demand for transit in the region, and we heard about the importance of growing the system to meet the transit needs of the future,” said STA Board Chair, Amber Waldref. Since 2009, ridership has grown by 44 percent and 2014 is expected to reach the highest ridership year since 1953 with approximately 11.3 million rides.

Approximately fifty percent of the proposed increase is needed to maintain existing transportation service levels. The remaining funds, in combination with state and federal grant monies, will be used to fund 28 regional projects that create more and better transit. Improvements to the region’s transit system include the development of High Performance Transit in some of the busiest travel corridors, more frequent routes, service to new areas, later service on nights and weekends, more services, and improved travel times to more connection locations.

The complete STA Moving Forward plan can be viewed online at http://www.stamovingforward.com.

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