In case you haven't noticed, gas prices are up almost $0.40/gallon over this time last year. And it's possible that they will reach the same level as the summer of 2008.
If you remember back to that summer, people turned to the bus in record numbers. And then in September the collapse of sales tax meant that right when people needed transit the most, Pierce Transit had to cut service.
If we don't pass the sales tax for Pierce Transit in two weeks, we might be looking at the same scenario only much, much worse. Gas prices will be near record highs, and the number of routes and number of bus hours will be even lower.
So even if you don't ride the bus right now, consider …
… that if gas is at $4.35/gallon again, it might start to look like a much more attractive option.
… that high gas prices hold down home values in suburban communities, because buyers, especially first-time home buyers, are more likely to choose homes closer to job centers, or near transit that has easy access to job centers.
…that 48,000 people use it daily, and with limited bus service, putting them back onto the roads (even if they could afford it, which is a whole other issue) is going to congest our streets even more.
I want to add that I really don't like increasing our sales tax–I think sales tax in general is regressive, and ours is already high. But that's an issue we need to work out at the state level first. Locally, I believe we need a strong transit service to connect our community, and that trumps my concern about sales tax.