On Wednesday, May 31, we unfurled banners bearing thousands of petition cards around the whole perimeter of the council chambers, while an “overwhelming number of people” spoke in favor of a progressive income tax on Seattle’s wealthiest households to fund urgent needs.
This week we are putting the finishing touches on the legislation, and next Wednesday, June 14th, there will be a special council meeting and public hearing where the councilmembers discuss the ordinance for the first time and the people have a chance to testify having seen it.
So far we’re making all the right enemies: the Washington Policy Center, Freedom Foundation, Republican legislators in Olympia, Rob McKenna, the Seattle Times editorial board… but we don’t know who else might come out of the woodwork next Wednesday. It’s up to us to show our councilmembers that we have their backs as they consider this groundbreaking legislation:
Wednesday, June 14
5:00 PM Council Discussion
Public hearing to follow
Council Chambers, Seattle City Hall
Click here to RSVP, sign up to volunteer or to receive updates
The Transit Riders Union is helping to build a coalition of community, labor, environmental, and social justice organizations to push for a 2.5% tax on the unearned income (capital gains, interest, dividends) of wealthy Seattle households that make over a quarter million dollars per year. This could raise $100 million dollars per year to help strengthen our communities and defend against Trump, and pave the way to fixing our state’s unjust tax system, the #1 most regressive in the nation.
We are planning a Day of Action for Wednesday, March 1st – including an event at City Hall in Council Chambers, 12:00 – 1:00 PM; a letter delivery; and phone calls to elected officials.
More details to come soon! In the meantime, you can learn more on our resources page here.
Seattle City Councilmember Lisa Herbold speaks out!
Click Here to Pledge to Gather Signatures & Sign Up to Volunteer
Thank you to everyone who came out to the Action Meeting on Saturday, Jan. 28th! If you didn’t make it but would like to sign up to volunteer for signature-gathering and other aspects of the campaign, you can do that here.
We’ve had multiple requests for the slide presentation and other materials from the event, so we are starting to compile resources on this page. We’ll also be creating an FAQ based on the questions submitted at the event. If there are other resources you think would be useful, please get in touch by emailing TRU’s campaign coordinator, Katie, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now is the time to act, right here in Seattle. With the federal government in irresponsible and dangerous hands it’s up to us to build community and resilience and power at a local and state level. On January 28th the Transit Riders Union is hosting an Action Meeting where you can learn about a bold campaign that is in the works right now, and sign up to get involved.
Saturday, Jan. 28th, 2-4PM
Labor Temple Hall 1
2800 1st Ave
Want to RSVP (helpful but not required)? Can’t attend but want to be kept informed? Sign up here.
Washington State has the #1 most regressive tax system in the nation. That means the poorest people pay the highest percentage of their income in state and local taxes – basically, Seattle and Washington State are tax havens for the wealthy. As a result we can’t adequately fund basic prerequisites of civilization, like education for our children.
And now, we’re all waiting to see what Trump’s administration is going to attack first. The Affordable Care Act is already on the chopping block. What’s next? Workers and their unions? Immigants? Social security and medicare? Foodstamps?
It’s time to act. We can help defend Seattle against Trump, set an example for other cities, AND pave the way to overhauling our state’s regressive tax system. If wealthy people with incomes over $200K contributed more fairly to our community, Seattle could raise hundreds of millions of dollars each year for affordable housing, transit, education, and green jobs. This will be a massive grassroots effort. We need you!
TRU Member Barb B. speaks
Earlier this year, the Transit Riders Union launched a campaign to improve public transit access for the many thousands of people who can’t afford ORCA LIFT. After all, mobility is a human right – and access to transportation may be the single strongest factor in escaping poverty. So, we delivered letters and petitions. We testified at public hearings. We built coalitions with service providers and other organizations. We met with elected officials. And guess what? We won!!!
Transit riders turned out to testify before the vote today
We are excited to announce that today the King County Council voted unanimously to cut in half the price service providers pay for tickets through Metro’s Human Services Ticket Program, as we urged. The ticket price had doubled since 2008 due to fare increases. The new lower price will allow service providers to purchase and distribute more tickets and/or redirect funds to other essential services.
This comes after the council voted in September to increase the quantity of reduced-price tickets available each year, and after Metro created a new “combo-ticket” in June to open up access to Link Light Rail for people who rely on bus tickets.
TRU Member Holly E. speaks
Not only that, the County Executive has promised that during the next biennium, he will “direct Metro to engage other transit agencies, the state, other local jurisdictions, human services agencies and other potential partners in a discussion of transit’s role in contributing to the social safety net for the lowest income residents, and how to possibly provide assistance while still being able to meet the growing demand for transit service throughout King County and the region.”
THANK YOU! to all the people and organizations that have contributed to every phase in this campaign. We have plenty of work still to do, but this is a great step forward.
You have your ballot, it’s time to vote! The Transit Riders Union recommends that you vote APPROVED on Sound Transit Proposition 1 (if you live in King County, it’s the last thing on your ballot) and YES on Initiative 1433 to raise the minimum wage and mandate paid sick days statewide.
We’ll soon know whether or not voters in King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties have approved a massive expansion of our region’s light rail system. While there has been some opposition from the usual anti-transit groups, the Seattle Times and even some more urbanist-minded folks in Seattle, the fact remains that in Seattle and around the region, transit, and particularly light rail, remains popular with voters. The massive ridership numbers at the new Capitol Hill and University District stations show that when given an alternative, people will choose transit over sitting in their car in gridlocked traffic.
As bad as traffic is currently it will only get worse in the coming years if we don’t act now to provide expanded light rail service. We’re expected to see 800,000 new people move to the region by 2040, when the projects included in Sound Transit 3 will be wrapping up. With the rising cost of living in Seattle forcing people out into the suburbs and surrounding cities, many of those people will be forced to locate in cities other than Seattle, cities that often do not currently have good, reliable, fast transit service. Continue reading
On Monday, September 19th, the King County Council voted unanimously to expand the Human Services Reduced Fare Ticket Program by around 20%. This will mean more tickets available for low-income youth, seniors, refugees, people with disabilities, and homeless people. Thank you everyone who has supported this effort!
But we’re not done yet. The very next day we delivered over four hundred letters and petitions, and a letter signed by fourteen organizations, asking King County Executive Dow Constantine and the King County Council to take further action to make sure that everyone in our community has access to public transit.
We are asking the county to reduce the match price that service providers pay for tickets from 20% to 10% of face value, ensure that people who rely on the ticket program have access to all Sound Transit services, and to begin work on a very low cost transit pass for riders who can’t afford ORCA LIFT – like they’re doing in Calgary, Canada!
Thousands of people in King County rely on tickets from service providers to ride the buses and light rail. This includes low-income youth, students, seniors, homeless people, veterans, and refugees. But there are never enough tickets.
Mobility is a human right. We are asking King County to:
1. Make more tickets available and lower the “match price” that human service agencies pay from 20% to 10% so that can afford to buy enough tickets for the people they serve.
2. Start working on a very low-cost monthly pass for very low-income riders. Calgary, Canada just started offering a sliding-scale pass costing as little as $5.15 per month! We can do that here!
Help us put pressure on King County Executive Dow Constantine! We will be delivering letters and petitions to the County Executive and County Councilmembers on Tuesday, September 20 at 2:00 PM. Meet in the park just south of King County Courthouse.
At the 2016 Solidarity Summit on Affordable Transit, we asked participants this question. Below are some of the responses. Want to chime in? Send your thoughts to email@example.com with the subject line “Affordable and Accessible”.
Maybe I can afford bus fare to work AND lunch some day.
Affordable bus fares that reward transit users for contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gases.
Expansion of routes to make more bus service available.
Enlist more employers to subsidize Metro passes.
Easy & fun to use
No fare enforcement
Policy decisions that reflect an ethic of love
Real BRT: dedicated bus lanes with right of way for public transit
Hospitable and high-quality bus stops
Prioritizing funding that serves the public (everyone)
Frequent reliable service (every 10 minutes) on high traffic routes until 9:30 pm (#36, #120, #21, #70)
Affordable: $2.50 all day, more reduced fare tickets
Sustainably, fairly financed: Tax the large scale employers that are taxing our infrastructure from influx of new residents
Build transit funding into cost to develop (SLU area)
To be able to travel around the area without worrying about cost. It’s hard enough to get to parts of the area due to route quirks without having to worry about whether I can afford it.
Better East/West access.
Downtown Seattle auto-free zones (i.e. Holland)
Lower fares on monthly passes even for Orca Lift ($35)
People from all incomes, backgrounds riding together peacefully
Educational outreach to other people that don’t rely on the bus. It is NOT just for the poor or low-income. It is a necessity and is a great, environmentally friendly resource.
More routes and more often in places further from the city center
Extend the 2-hour transfer to 4-6 hours or all-day passes
THE BUS FARE IS TOO DAMN HIGH!