Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

November 8, 2012 at 12:07pm

Update: Proposition 1 ballot results

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Last night as the Weekly Volcano went to press, Proposition 1 - the measure that would raises sales tax within Pierce Transit's boundaries by three-tenths of 1 percent - was still too close to call. If passed, the Pierce Transit board says it will increase service hours from 419,000 to 515,000 by 2017 and restore special event service, such as Puyallup Fair routes, which were cut last year when voters said no to increased funding.

Pierce Transit riders are clutching the bus handrails. A no vote most likely means no night and no weekend service, and a slashing to some daily routes. To those with disabilities, reduced bus service means a loss of jobs.

"As an organization we do not have the resources or infrastructure to provide transportation. There is no viable alternative for people," says Ken Gibson, executive director of TACID, the agency that promotes the independence of individuals with disabilities. "The Pierce County Coordinated Transportation Coalition is working on these issues, but it is extremely complex and expensive - this is a core reason why it isn't provided for privately. It is expensive and seen as a public good rather than a profitable enterprise."

This morning, Seattle Weekly staff writer Matt Driscoll, a public transit rider, posted an update on SW's Daily Weekly blog.

With the fate of Pierce County's bus service literally hanging in the balance, Gig Harbor City Council and Pierce Transit Board of Commissioners member Derek Young said somberly Tuesday night that he remained hopeful later voting returns would save Pierce Transit's Prop 1 from the demise it seemed headed for. Initial returns showed the three-tenths of one percent sales tax hike in Pierce Transit's boundary area failing, albeit it by a slim margin.

"There's still a path to victory," Young said Wednesday morning. "The gap narrowed a bit last night, but we need some big movement from tonight's results."

Wednesday evening brought a movement. And then a slight retreat.

Results released at 4:40 p.m. provided the glimmer of hope transit proponents had been waiting for. Though Prop 1 still trailed, the deficit was down to 735 votes. Young told me Pierce Transit officials estimated 110,000 Pierce Transit district ballots were yet to be counted at that point.

If things continued to trend in Prop 1's direction, this meant enough ballots remained for the proposition to make up the difference and take the lead.

To read Driscoll's full post on Prop 1, click here.

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO GRAB A SEAT: "I believe that concerned citizens need to attend the Pierce Transit Board meetings and have their voice heard by the officials making the decisions," says Gibson.  "The next PT Board meeting is Nov 19 at 4 p.m. at the Pierce Transit Headquarters in Lakewood."  

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