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Spokane City Council Overrides Veto In Hopes of Passing STA Funding Proposal

Atomic Taco via flickr
Spokane Transit

The Spokane City Council has overridden a veto by Mayor Condon that would have killed a plan that allows the city to use sales tax and vehicle licensing fees to fund public transportation.

The council passed that measure earlier this month in an effort to support funding for the Central City Line, a project that was among a package of proposals put forward by Spokane Transit Authority and defeated at the polls a year ago .

But last week, STA decided to go ahead and reintroduce those projects on the ballot come November.

STA board member and City Councilwoman Amber Waldref says even though the STA measure may pass this time, the city still wants the option of making sure the city can fund public transportation projects.

“I think the concerns of the council in overriding his veto was we should still have that option at the city in the future," Waldref said. "We don’t know what is going to happen in November. And if the citizens of Spokane continue to desire more transit, we should have all the options out there, even if we don’t exercise it this year or next year.”

Waldref says in putting the measure back on the ballot, the STA board decided to lower the sales tax cap to fund the improvements from 0.3 to 0.2 of a percent sales tax.

“The study that we did of sales tax over time was very confident we’d be able to implement all the 25 different improvements across the county.  And that would be about 25% more service over the next ten to twelve years. So we believe we can do that with one tenth and going to the next tenth in two to three years.”

If passed, the sales tax increase would expire in the year 2028.

The previous STA proposal failed by only about 570 votes. Waldref says she expects with the large voter turnout expected in this Presidential election year, there is a better chance of it passing.

Steve was part of the Spokane Public Radio family for many years before he came on air in 1999. His wife, Laurie, produced Radio Ethiopia in the late 1980s through the '90s, and Steve used to “lurk in the shadowy world” of Weekend SPR. Steve has done various on air shifts at the station, including nearly 15 years as the local Morning Edition host. Currently, he is the voice of local weather and news during All Things Considerd, writing, editing, producing and/or delivering newscasts and features for both KPBX and KSFC. Aside from SPR, Steve ,who lives in the country, enjoys gardening, chickens, playing and listening to music, astronomy, photography, sports cars and camping.