Election 2015: Community Transit request for more funding barely passing

Route-196Community Transit’s request for new funding to increase bus service throughout Snohomish County was barely passing in election returns Tuesday night. With 45,160 votes counted, Proposition 1 had received 22,953 “yes” votes, or 51 percent, with 22,207 voters saying “no.”

The measure would increase the agency’s sales tax by three-tenths of one percent (0.3%).

Community Transit has not asked voters for a tax increase since 2001, and that was to offset the loss of motor vehicle excise tax funding following Initiative 695. The agency’s last tax increase for more service was in 1990.

If new funding is approved, Community Transit has said it would provide more local bus trips throughout the day, as well as expanded service hours every day of the week; more commuter bus trips to downtown Seattle and the University of Washington and reconfigured local bus service to connect with Sound Transit Link light rail when it reaches Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and, eventually, Everett.

According to the state Department of Revenue, the 0.3 percent sales tax increase would cost an average Snohomish County adult about $33 a year, or an extra 3 cents on every $10 taxable purchase. Community Transit’s current sales tax rate is 0.9 percent in all jurisdictions within its service area, which is most of Snohomish County excluding Everett.

The 0.3 percent sales tax increase would generate about $25 million a year for transit improvements, Community Transit has said.

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