WENATCHEE — Link Transit, the public transportation system serving Chelan and Douglas counties, hopes voters will say yes this summer to a sales tax boost for increased services.
The agency's board approved a ballot measure Tuesday calling for a 0.2-percent sales tax increase within Link's taxing district, a 3,500-square-mile region where almost 3,500 people ride a Link bus each day. It's the first time Link has ever sought a sales tax increase over and above the original 0.4 percent tax rate that brought it into being almost 30 years ago.
Link currently operates with a 0.4 percent sales tax rate on purchases in its district, an area that encompasses all of Chelan County plus the Eastmont, Waterville and Orondo school districts. If approved by voters, the new rate would be phased in over two years, with 0.1 percent effective immediately and the second 0.1 percent becoming effective in January 2020, for a total rate of 0.6 percent, or 6 cents per $10 taxable purchase.
Link operators hope the increase would fund transit expansions including Sunday service (which has never before been offered), increased Saturday service, later evening services, increased frequency and an expanded and improved the route network. A complete list of planned upgrades is in Link's Vision 2020 master plan.
Public transit in Washington State is funded primarily though voter-approved sales tax. Link’s public transit system went into operation Dec. 16, 1991, funded by a voter-approved sales tax increase of 0.4 percent.
Jefferson Robbins: 679-7013