Local news

Counties To Consider Forming Transit District

Okanogan County is joining several other Central and Eastern Washington counties in taking a look at forming a transit district.

Ed Thiele said he and other Okanogan County commissioners doubt voters would approve a tax increase to pay for a bus system, but they will consider the issue at the request of some of their constituents.

The commissioners have scheduled a meeting with city officials at 7 p.m. on Dec. 18. State law requires transit districts to be established jointly by city and county governments.

There are several successful transit districts in rural counties, including the Link system in Chelan and Douglas counties, which voters narrowly approved in September 1990.

But 59 percent of Stevens County voters rejected a proposed transit-district sales tax in September 1994.

Almost 63 percent of Grant County voters turned down a similar measure a year earlier, but transit advocates persisted and won a $220,000 demonstration grant from the state Department of Transportation.

The grant, which took effect Nov. 1 and will be supplemented with other money, will provide transit service within Moses Lake as well as connect Moses Lake, Quincy, Ephrata and possibly Soap Lake and other points.

A similar $99,954 grant is providing transit service between the northern Pend Oreille County towns of Ione, Metaline and Metaline Falls. The money reimburses the Selkirk School District, which provides a small school bus and drivers.

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