Group petitions for tax increase for buses

If the Valley Transit Board agrees, the soonest a sales-tax ballot measure could go before voters would be February 2010.

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WALLA WALLA — A Valley Transit community support group says a sales tax increase is the best solution to Valley Transit’s budget deficit, and Saturday the group started collecting signatures to show support for a 0.3 percent sales tax increase.

"If people feel something is important they will support it. The point is it (public transportation) benefits all of us, not just bus riders," said Campaign for Valley Transit member Dan Clark.

Clark added that public transportation also benefit customers and employees, as well as families.

The group is now collecting signatures from people who are signing a sheet that says they "support a reasonable increase in the sale tax rate for transit."

The soonest that a sales-tax ballot measure could go before voters would be February 2010, but it must first be approved by the Valley Transit Board.

On Saturday, group members collected signatures at the Walla Walla Farmers’ Market. The group will submit the signatures at the Sept. 17 board meeting. At that meeting, board members will review various solutions to budget problems. Cuts to bus service are possible. Public comment will be taken. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at the Valley Transit Board Room, 1401 W. Rose St.

On Sept. 10, the Valley Transit Board will hold a workshop at the same location at 6:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend, but no public testimony will be received.

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