Members of Wichita’s City Council spent much of yesterday discussing a new sales tax that could be used to shore up the city’s water supply, encourage job growth and keep the transit system running for five more years.
Tuesday’s meeting marked the first step in funding some key areas of Wichita’s future. A proposed one-cent sales tax referendum, worth $398 million over five years, was approved by council members.
A new water source would take the bulk of the money, but the city’s transit system would also receive a welcomed boost. Councilwoman Janet Miller says it’s not an amount that will transform the bus system…
“But we needed to start somewhere," she says. "And without this stabilizing funding, what will happen is that transit, over the next two, three or four years, will face severe reductions in service, which will mean reductions in ridership. And every ride that’s lost, will be someone who simply can’t get somewhere.”
The increase would allow for additional routes, but not for the Sunday and late night service desired by many riders.
Before the tax referendum can be seen on November’s ballot, it will go through public discussions over the coming weeks and have a final vote by city council.
$398 million proposed tax referendum breakdown:
- 63 percent ($250,740,000) - New Water Source For Wichita
- 20 percent ($79,600,000) - Job Creation Measures
- 10 percent ($39,800,000) - Wichita Transit
- 7 percent ($27,860,000) - Residential Street Funding