Transit on Ballot?

An article in Friday’s Trib suggests that funding for transit may make its way to the ballot soon.

Some of the focus for the article is on the rail vs. bus issue that we’ve discussed often here. I’d like to focus on a different question the article raises (at least indirectly).

Funding for transit today is primarily based on the payroll tax. That works well to the extent that as employment grows, driving demand for more transit, funding also grows to match it.

But if demand for transit grows because demand increases due to modal shifts (for example because energy costs change behavior, or because land use changes allow more people to effectively access transit) funding does NOT increase to match the new demand.

Where should we look for funding for the increased appetite for transit?

This is explicitly about asking how we grow the pie rather than fighting about how we cut the slices!

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