Letter to the Editor: Proposition 1 will improve quality of life for all

Dear Editor:

With more people moving into the area, we know that traffic isn’t going to just magically go away.

In fact, our road system is pretty well built-out. So how can we keep people moving in the face of expected population increases? The answer is simple: we need to make the best use of the roads we have.

Buses and van-pools are some of the most efficient ways to move people to their jobs, schools and other destinations. Every day, about 40,000 people take Snohomish County’s homegrown transit agency, Community Transit. That’s the equivalent of the entire city of Lynnwood hopping on a bus, every day.

Even if you never take transit, your quality of life is enhanced by Community Transit offering thousands of people a great way to get to work and home again.

And its popularity keeps growing. Last year, ridership grew at 8 percent, and it’s expected to increase even more this year. For lots of commuters, that means standing-room only and packed buses passing by the stop, unable to safely take any more passengers.

To keep our economy on track and keep our community strong, we need to make transit investments.

Proposition 1 gives us the opportunity to ensure Community Transit continues to be one of the services that makes Snohomish County great.

By increasing the sales tax three-tenth of one percent, we can increase the number of commuter bus trips to downtown Seattle and the University of Washington. For the average cost of $33 annually, we can increase east-west connections within Snohomish County, and we can expand the number of vanpools and paratransit service.

We could also add a second Swift bus rapid transit line between the state’s largest manufacturing job center at Boeing/Paine Field and the county’s high-tech center at Canyon Park/Bothell.

Best yet, we could see transit improvements right away. If passed, Community Transit could add more trips on existing routes as early as March 2016, including more mid-day and evening service.

After a public process to finalize a transit plan that responds to local needs, we could order new busses to support further system expansion in 2017 and 2018.

Proposition 1 is a great deal. For our investment, we ensure that our people can get to their jobs. And we make sure they get home again, for the Little League games, backyard BBQ’s and time with loved ones.

With thousands of new homes being permitted for Snohomish County, investing in Community Transit this November will help ensure we control and manage growth while keeping our community moving.

This is the right package at the right time. Please join me in voting “Yes” on Proposition 1 on Nov. 3.

For more information, go to: www.communitytransit.org/futuretransit

Jerry Smith
Mayor of Mountlake Terrace

  1. With all due respect to Mayor Smith, he’s wrong.

    One could easily get the impression from the good Mayor that increasing the amount of money that Community Transit receives will reduce congestion. It will not. Generally speaking, people who have the option of driving or taking transit will do the latter only >because< of congestion. If that congestion disappeared, so would their reason for taking the bus.

    I also find it interesting that the Mayor neglected to mention that he's on the Board of Directors for Community Transit. Of course he supports this tax; he's part of the group who came up with it.

    As the good folks at Citizens for Efficient Transit Spending point out, Community Transit is among the most inefficient transit authorities in Washington. Pierce County and Spokane County spend about half as much as Community Transit to provide comparable (and sometimes better) service.

    Community Transit's revenues are increasing as Snohomish County recovers from the Great Recession. Let's not give them a 33% sales tax increase to waste.

    For more information, go to https://VoteNoOnProp1.com

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