Fort Worth Grapples With How to Boost Transit Spending

Councilman suggests adding quarter-cent sales tax

A Fort Worth councilman is suggesting the city increase funding for public transit by using more sales tax revenue.

Councilman Cary Moon proposed increasing sales taxes earmarked for public transportation from a half-cent to three-quarters of a cent.

That would be a boost of about $37 million.

"This is a serious conversation with a lot of what-ifs, what-fors, and hows," Moon told a meeting of Fort Worth's transportation authority, now known as Trinity Metro.

"If you're for public transportation, let the people vote," he said. "If you're not for public transportation, let the people vote."

He suggested the vote could take place in November or early next year.

The increase could be phased in over several years and not cut into the half-cent sales tax that goes to police, he added.

He acknowledged the city would have to make other cuts to account for the gap in the general fund.

City leaders seem ready to increase funding for transit, but there is no agreement on where to get the money.

Fort Worth citizens pay about $71 per year for transit compared to $254 in Dallas, according to the transportation authority's 2016 master plan.

The funding gap has come under the spotlight in recent weeks since Amazon announced good mass transit would be a factor in deciding where to locate its new massive headquarters.

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