A group of transit advocates, supported by Houston Tomorrow, carried signs supporting a pro-transit choice before the Metro board meeting at Metro headquarters. The demonstration was covered by Examiner:
They sought to urge board to place a referendum on the November ballot that would change the way the 1% sales tax for transit is allocated.
Currently, a 1% sales tax is imposed for transportation. The tax is shared by all towns, and 25% may be diverted to other departments in a program known as the General Mobility Program. Houston currently diverts only 20% of the tax. Some of the funds are spent on transportation-related projects including light rail development and road infrastructure improvements. But in some cases, the monies are spent on salaries, and some towns with no public transportation service benefit from the tax.
Several board members have presented proposals to address the issue. The proposals are all available in the Metro web site. The pro-transit coalition, including Houston Tomorrow supports a proposal #5 by Board member Cristof Spieler that would continue the programs approved by the voters in 2003, including completion of a light rail line on Richmond Avenue, and equalize GMP allocations at 25% for all participating towns.