Dear WISDOM Leaders:
There is a bill (AB210) that is working its way through the state legislature which we need to address. AB210 would allow counties to hold a referendum to decide of they want to raise their local sales tax by .5% (one-half of one percent) for the purpose of supporting local transportation needs. The problem is that the revenue could NOT be used to fund local transit needs (e.g. bus service, van service, etc.) in our urban and rural counties. The money could only be used for local streets and highways.
We need to let members of the legislature know that AB210, as it currently stands, is not acceptable. The bill needs to be amended to give counties at least the option of using the increased revenue to pay for transit. All members of the community need to be able to get around, not just people who can drive.
Transit funding was cut by 10% in the 2012-14 state budget, which resulted in the end of some bus routes, shorter service hours and in some communities, a complete loss of transit service. The problem was made even greater when the state reduced shared revenue to local communities, leaving them with less capacity to support their local systems.
When transit is underfunded, it is the most vulnerable part of our population that suffers the most. Many people who are elderly, who have disabilities, work for low wages, or cannot drive depend on public transit to get to work, to go to the doctor, to go to Church or school, or just to participate in the life of the community.
If AB210 moves forward, it MUST include an option for counties to fund transit systems. If it does not, it should not be passed at all. It would be grossly unfair to ask all people to pay a transportation tax, then refuse to let any of the money go toward the needs of the part of the community that doesn’t drive.
Please contact your legislators, especially your State Senators, to urge them:
“Either include public transit in AB210 (the “County Tax bill”) or make sure the bill does not pass.”
Thanks, by the way, to those who have already responded that they would be willing to be part of the “WISDOM Lightning Team”. There is still time for others to sign up: just respond to this message and include the names of your Senator and Assembly Representative.