Transit boosters seek MVET and other tax options for bus service

  • Jerry Cornfield
  • Thursday, February 10, 2011 8:09am
  • Local News

A campaign will be launched today that could see the re-emergence of a motor vehicle excise tax and the arrival of local sales taxes on gasoline to help keep buses running in Washington.

At 12:30 p.m. today, leaders of environmental, labor, business and community organizations will lay out their Transportation for Washington campaign which begins with a push to give transit agencies a greater ability to seek voter-approved tax and fee hikes.

Rep. Marko Liias, D-Edmonds, who plans to introduce a bill to be called the Local Transit Act, will headline the news conference in House Hearing Room E.

The bill, which could be dropped as early as Friday, will allow transit agencies and transit authorities the ability to go to voters with options including:

-a “progressive motor vehicle excise tax” based on vehicle value;
-a car tab fee based on annual mileage;
-a fuel efficiency-based tax that rewards clean and efficient vehicles;
-applying of local sales tax on gasoline.

“Current local transit funding sources are too limited to meet ridership needs and too volatile to withstand economic changes,” according to a statement from backers of the transit act who are part of the Transportation Choices coalition.

“Washingtonians need more diverse and robust local transit investment options to preserve and enhance transit service across the state! The Local Transit Act provides a long-term solution to our state’s transit crisis by creating new voter-approved transit funding mechanisms that will save jobs, preserve mobility for citizens, and protect our environment.

“The Local Transit Act offers a real long-term funding solution for local, regional and intercity transit. The bill authorizes several new voter-approved revenue mechanisms that are robust enough to weather economic fluctuations and diverse enough to meet the different needs of communities across the state.”

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