Internet sales tax bill would help fund public transit

We sent out a press release today along with the ATU on the Marketplace Fairness Act and its implications for public transit funding. See the previous streetsblog article on the topic here. We hope the House will follow the Senate’s bi-partisan lead and pass the Marketplace Fairness Act. Click here to send a message to your Congressperson!

Internet sales tax bill would help fund public transit

Transit union, Americans for Transit urge House to pass Marketplace Fairness Act

Washington, DC – The bipartisan Senate-passed Internet Sales Tax bill would provide millions in critical funding for many cash-strapped public transit systems says the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) and Americans for Transit (A4T) in urging House members to pass the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013 (HR 684).

“Transit ridership is at its highest in decades yet transit systems from Seattle to Pittsburgh to Atlanta to Minneapolis have or are considering cuts to service or increasing fares,” says ATU International President Larry Hanley. “This legislation would provide them much needed funding to meet this rising demand. We urge the House to follow the Senate’s lead and pass HR 684 now.”

The proposed legislation gives states and local governments the ability to impose state and local sales taxes on internet sales at the exact same rates as brick and mortar ones.  Many local transit agencies rely on sales taxes so a larger sales tax base would provide more funding for public transportation.

Seattle’s Metro transit system, which is facing drastic budget cuts, receives 54 percent of its operating funding from sales tax revenue. If the bill passed transit agencies in Seattle/King County, WA would receive $38 million dollars more per year in 2017 according to the Washington state Department of Revenue. Transit service in Kansas City, San Francisco, Oakland and Atlanta are other cities that would benefit from boost in sales tax.

“This bill would provide crucial revenue that would help many struggling transit agencies to crawl out of fiscal crisis and halt proposed service cuts and fund transit improvements for millions of riders,” says A4T Executive Director Andrew Austin. “We call on Congress to pass this bill to help address the transit funding crisis across the country.”

ATU and A4T have launched a campaign asking the public to contact their Member of Congress to urge them to support the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013. Click here.

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