Get creative on parking
September 20, 2007
Regarding our mayor’s editorial explaining his support for expansion of paid parking (letters, Sept. 15), I must assume that as the public hearing has yet to be held that the mayor was looking for dialogue and not trying to imply his mind is already closed.
I was surprised by his assertion that only parking money or transit sales tax money can pay for our bus system. As prior commissioners, both Mick and I often spoke against the trend of voters forcing monies to be pigeonholed into pots of money that could only be used for specific purposes rather than relying on general fund monies.
Looking at the budget requests recently approved by council, it appears the general fund is flush. The free bus service is an amenity that absolutely should be supported by funds generated from the sales taxes paid by locals, tourists and everyone who buys anything while in town.
Also, the 1.5 percent transfer tax could be used for transit. Due to escalating property values and a hot real estate market, the transfer tax has generated huge amounts for the housing and Wheeler funds. As for the city free bus system, which runs every 15 minutes through the affordable housing areas is struggling, instead of increasing paid parking fees and areas, why not use some of the affordable housing taxes to subsidize affordable housing transit? The Wheeler/arts fund could similarly be tapped to fund transit to arts venues such as the summer West End bus for the music festival.
The old ways are not working. We need to start thinking creatively.
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