Lakewood, Wash.-based Pierce Transit's Board of Commissioners selected a plan to preserve service levels with the goal of providing financially sustainable public transportation that area residents value and use.
The Board directed staff to put forward a ballot proposition for the Feb. 8, 2011 election to exercise the final 0.3 percent sales tax authority available to Pierce Transit to provide funding to meet current service demands.
Over the last year, Pierce Transit carefully developed and refined service plans centered on three rounds of extensive public input. The final alternatives were based on two funding levels; one that reduces service while utilizing the current sales tax level of 0.6 percent (6 cents on a $10 purchase), and one that preserves service by exercising the remaining sales tax authority of 0.3 percent (an additional 3 cents on a $10 purchase).
Since the beginning of the recession, Pierce Transit has been actively addressing the impacts of sharp declines in sales tax revenue. The agency was one of the first entities to experience a layoff of personnel — a five percent reduction.
The transit system also delayed or eliminated capital projects, reduced service by nearly six percent, and increased regular adult fares by 25 cents. Those actions combined with employee identified operational efficiencies have saved more than $72 million.
The Pierce Transit Board also directed staff to continue to look for ways to cut more costs without impacting service until the voters have their say in February of 2011.