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Mountain Line seeking renewal of transit levy

The Mountain Line Transit Authority passed a resolution this week indicating its intent to seek renewal of the public transit excess levy during the May 14 primary election. 

If renewed, rates for the levy would remain unchanged from its original passage in 2016 and 2020 renewal — 2.2 cents per $100 assessed value on Class II (residential) property and 4.4 cents per $100 on Class III and IV (commercial). 

It’s anticipated the levy would provide Mountain Line $2,223,973 annually for four years, beginning July 1, 2025 ($8,895,892 total).  

Of the annual allocation, $500,000 will be earmarked for equipment purchases and just over $1.7 million will support bus service.

Mountain Line General Manager Maria Smith said levy funding has allowed for a dramatic expansion in service equal to more than 41,000 hours annually. That number is in addition to the 56,744 hours of service being operated prior to passage of the levy in 2016.

“These hours have increased our frequencies and expanded our evening and weekend service.  It has also provided service to new-growth areas in our community such as WestRidge, Mylan Park, Fort Pierpont and Suncrest Towne Centre,” Smith explained. 

Levy dollars have also served as the local match to leverage more than $6.1 million in federal funding for the purchase of 20 new vehicles. 

“With the renewal of the levy, Mountain Line can continue to expand its service as the community grows, and can replace aging equipment past useful life,” Smith said, later adding, “If the levy does not pass the transit system will need to reduce service levels back to what is financially feasible.” 

As a tip of the cap to the county’s taxpayers, Mountain Line implemented a tax pass program in January 2020 through which county residents who pay property taxes are eligible for one or more bus passes, depending on the amount of taxes paid. 

For example, a landlord may be eligible for multiple passes and make those passes available to tenants. 

Between January and November 2023, more than 200 of the one-year passes were distributed and just over 71,000 tax pass rides were provided.  

Renewal of the transit levy will require a 60% supermajority on Election Day. In 2016, the original transit levy received 63% of the vote. The levy was renewed in 2020 with a 66.82% approval rate. 

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