Snohomish County bus-funding measure continues with 50.9 percent “approved” votes.
As more ballots are counted, Community Transit’s sales-tax measure continues to lead with a 50.9 percent “approved” vote.
Monday’s update shows 48,918 in favor and 47,163 against Proposition 1, according to Snohomish County Elections.
The lead has barely changed since Election Day last Tuesday, when the “approved” share was also 50.9 percent.
Elections Manager Garth Fell estimates there are 5,000 to 6,000 ballots left to count in the Community Transit district, which covers most urbanized areas and towns in the county.
If that’s the correct range, then roughly two-thirds of uncounted ballots would have to oppose Proposition 1 for it to fail.
The measure would raise sales taxes 0.3 percent — leading to the state’s highest sales tax rates, of 9.8 percent in Mukilteo, Edmonds, Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace, Brier and north Bothell, and 9.9 percent in Mill Creek, compared to 9.6 percent in Seattle. Everett sales tax would reach 9.5 percent.
In return, some $25 million per year would fund a Swift 2 bus-rapid transit line from Bothell to McCollum Park and Paine Field in 2018, and Swift 3 from Edmonds to Lynnwood Transit Center and Mill Creek in 2023, with buses as frequent as every 10 minutes. The agency also proposes a new Highway 9 line and boosts in commuter routes to Seattle and Bellevue.
Additional Swift lines could connect people to future light-rail stops and create new travel options for the huge “suburban clusters” of apartments that line Snohomish County highways, but have mediocre walking access to shops and jobs.
With 10,000 new residents per year pouring in, the area needs more-frequent transit, said the Community Transit Now campaign.
The opposition Citizens for Efficient Transit Spending argued that operating costs of $168 per hour should be reduced before the agency gets more money, and that normal growth in sales-tax income of 4.5 percent per year ought to produce enough income.