Spokane Transit Authority is looking to the future,
hoping voters will approve a sales tax increase to
fund its 10-year growth plan, known as STA Moving
Proposition 1 would help fund 25 new projects over
the next decade. This is the second time STA has put
the proposition on the ballot. Las year, it failed
in the election by less than 1%.
But, with Spokane continuing to grow, STA says it
not only wants to keep up, but get ahead.
"The STA Moving Forward plan is really about growth
in the community and how to improve transit for a
growing population," said STA Senior Communications
Specialist Brandon Rapez-Betty.
If Proposition 1 passes, the first projects are set
to begin next May. That includes expanded hours on
Saturdays, as well as more direct routes in certain
areas. The funding for these projects would come from
an increased sales tax. Prop. 1 would increase the
local sales tax by 0.2%, which would be an increase
of 2 cents for every $10 spent.
"This is only applicable inside the transit service
area, it's not county-wide. So, only if you live in
the transit service area will it impact you," Rapez-Betty
The tax would also be phased in over three years.
In may of April 2017, the sales tax would increase
by 0.1% and then by another 0.1% in 2019.
STA proposed a similar, but slightly larger, tax increase
last year, but voters barely rejected it. They hope
this year's plan will be more appealing.
"It's a smaller increase,
one-tenth less," said Rapez-Betty.
"It has a quicker timeline for services. So the board
moved up services that were later in the plan to sooner
in the plane and it's a phased in tax."
Spokane GOP is recommending a "no" vote on Prop. 1.
It says the proposal is no better than last year's,
and feel the funds aren't being spent wisely. But,
STA says the money is important to keep up with the
growing demand for public transit.
"It's important, as a public agency, that we are thinking
into the future so that we have the infrastructure
in place to provide an important public service,"