In 2010 the WTA planned to eliminate Sunday bus service due to budget cuts created by the financial crisis. To prevent this, Whatcom County voters were asked to approve a sales tax increase dedicated to public transit. This increase, though supported by Bellingham voters, was rejected by county wide vote.
Bellingham City Council then proposed the creation of a Transportation Benefit District. City voters were told that if they approved the creation of the district along with an 0.2 percent increase in sales tax, Sunday service would be restored. The measure was approved in the November 2010 city election. The district was created, the sales tax was increased and Sunday bus service in Bellingham was saved.
The Transportation Benefit District most recent annual report states that $5,120,532 was raised by the district in 2013. Of that amount $1,040,000 was spent for transit contract services supporting Sunday bus service.
City Councilman Terry Bornemann, in a transformation of dialogue skills from pit people to rich people, has attended quiet zone meetings and now advocates the transfer of district Sunday bus service funding to railroad crossing upgrades. Mr. Bornemann no longer believes that the Sunday bus service that the district was created to restore should be supported by the district.
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The City Council should reject this bait-and-switch change in policy.