Salinas
58° F
Overcast
Overcast

Monterey-Salinas Transit System campaign for local tax measure

By Ricardo Navarro, Reporter, Ricardonavarro@kionrightnow.com
Published On: Jun 19 2014 11:48:33 AM CDT
SALINAS, Calif. -

The proposed countywide tax measure from the Monterey-Salinas Transit System would add an eighth of a cent, which comes out to $0.125. The measure is written so the revenue would only fund specific MST that are on the fence of being cut.

Public transportation is the only way Dominga Aguisanda gets around.

"Every day, every day I ride the bus. After walking and then I ride the bus. It's OK. It's good, they respect people who ride it," said Aguisanda.

She said she believes MST does everything it can do to help senior citizens and people with disabilities.

"They help the handicapped like me, they help handicapped when the person gets inside the bus," said Aguisanda.

There are other services MST provides that go beyond the bus - programs that 200,000 passengers use.

"These programs have been funded from a variety of federal programs and those programs have been eliminated in the last transportation bill," said Carl Sedoryk, MST CEO.

He said taxi vouchers for seniors and specialized shuttles are on the chopping block. Sedoryk said MST wants a local dedicated source of funding to guarantee these programs continue.

"Eighty-five percent of the population of the state of California live in a county that has a dedicated local tax for transportation, Monterey county at this point is not among them," said Sedoryk.

The proposed tax would be an eighth of a cent -- raising the countywide sales tax from 7.5 to 7.625 percent. An estimated $10 per person a year that would generate $6.5 million dollars for MST.

"It is enough to stabilize what we have and to keep these very special programs running," said Sedoryk.

The state requires a super majority of votes for a tax like this to pass. MST is hopeful that because the proposed tax is specific and not permanent voters will support it.