A temporary fee to prevent transit service cuts is a “measuring stick” that could determine if a candidate receives an endorsement and funding from a newly-formed Seattle-area business political action committee. It’s an economic vitality issue for the businesses.
This is great news for the transportation stakeholders who believe investment in all modes is necessary for improving our economic vitality, reducing congestion, and improving safety, air and water quality. Infighting among stakeholders is a recipe for little if any increased investment.
Chris Grygiel’s article (link to “New business PAC to use transit tax to evaluate candidates“, Seattle PI) discusses other issues for the business PAC, but here are the money quotes related to transportation:
One specific issue the new group feels strongly about is transit funding. This year the Legislature granted King County the authority to impose a temporary $20 vehicle licensing surcharge that would bring in $25 million annually for two years to shore up Metro Transit’s budget, which has been decimated by the slow economy. Metro will likely cut hundreds of thousands of hours of bus service without more money.
To impose that surcharge, the nine-member County Council needs the votes of six members. To put the question before voters, five votes are required. But there may not be enough support ask voters whether they want to increase the surcharge. Allen said.
Allen said the Chamber of Commerce supports the transit fee – and the new PAC will probably use the issue to measure candidates.
The Chamber supported the new license fee, saying businesses would be hurt if employees and customers can’t get to businesses because bus routes are cut. He said the group will make that issue a primary one in grading County Council candidates and incumbents.
“We realize, it’s one of the basic tenants for economic and job growth…you have to get employees to and from work,” Allen said.