Walla Walla voters pass sales tax increase to maintain Valley Transit services
Preliminary election results released at 8:05 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 9 show the Valley Transit sales tax ballot measure winning by an overwhelming 76.31 percent. Although results will not be certified until later this month, 92 percent of the 12,924 mail-in ballots received to date have been counted.
“We’re thrilled by the results,” said Barbara Clark, campaign co-chair. “This is a community that really cares about all of the people who live here. I think this vote shows that people recognize how important Valley Transit is to people and the economy.”
With the passage of the ballot measure, Valley Transit will avoid a 50 percent cut in services over the next year that would have eliminated at least two bus lines and reduced frequencies on others. Funding to keep the system running will come from a .03 percent sales tax increase in the Walla Walla County Public Transportation Benefit Area, which includes Walla Walla and College Place.
“This is tremendous news,” said Valley Transit General Manager Dick Fondahn. “I’m very happy for the citizens in Walla Walla. I’m thankful that people planned for their future. They see the wisdom in public transit.”
Campaign organizers and volunteers celebrated at a party at the campaign headquarters on Main Street. After the victory was announced, several speeches were made.
“We’ve never seen a campaign team this strong,” said Dan Clark, a member of the campaign’s steering committee. Clark and other organizers thanked volunteers who worked for the campaign, businesses who endorsed the ballot measure and individuals who shared personal stories about the importance of transit in their lives.
“This is a great win for the people of the Walla Walla Valley,” said Fondahn.
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