Pierce transit regulars worry as Prop 1 vote count winds down

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by ZAHID ARAB / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on November 11, 2012 at 5:58 PM

Updated Sunday, Nov 11 at 11:07 PM

Thousands of Pierce County transit riders are hoping for a miracle.  As of Sunday night, there were about 15,000 votes left to be counted and Proposition 1 was losing by around 695 votes.

Proposition 1 would increase the sales tax three tenths of one percent.  If it fails, all weekend routes and weekday service after 7 p.m. will come to a screeching halt. Service for the disabled will also be reduced.

“Very disappointing, we just have to hope for the best,” said Pat Walker, a senior citizen who rides the bus.

Every Sunday, Walker uses the bus to get to church. But since she doesn’t drive, she calls it a necessity the rest of the week.

“So many of us are retired in this area and we can’t afford a car, can’t afford insurance,” she said.

Public transit is Shannon O’Neill’s livelihood.

“To go to work, to go to appointments, to go grocery shopping, I use it for everything,” said O’Neill.

Despite days of counting, the margin of difference between the “approve” or “reject” for Proposition 1 hasn’t changed much. Opponents say Public Transit’s financial problems shouldn’t have to be solved by the public.

“Tax increases are forever and the competitive disadvantage in Pierce County could really affect our economy,” said Nick Sherwood, a member of the “Reject Prop 1 Campaign.”

As the vote comes down to the wire, it weighs heavily on Walker’s mind. As she boards her Sunday bus, she says a prayer.

“Hoping to God it will pass,” said Walker.

Pierce County Elections Officials say the final ballots will be counted Tuesday. If Prop. 1 fails, the transit service cuts will start in the spring of 2014.

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