*In RVTD’s recently mailed Spring 2021 newsletter there was an accidental typo regarding the description of the levy. The levy would renew the current 13-cent per $1,000 of assessed property value. Please read below for full description of Ballot Measure 15-200.
Ballot Measure 15-200: Renewal of Five-Year Local Option Tax for General Operations.
This Measure Renews the Current 13-cent Levy Passed in 2016
Rogue Valley Transportation District (RVTD) has placed a renewal of the 13-cent per $1,000 dollars of assessed property value on the May 2021 ballot. The levy will fund transit services over the next 5 years and expires in June 2026 if passed. The original 13-cent levy was passed in 2016 by a 61% vote in favor.
The Benefits of Transit Service: Access to Jobs. Access to Higher Education. Improve Commerce. Increase Mobility. Improve Livability. Improve Safety. Helps Reduce GHG
15-Year History of Levy Preparation
|2006||35% Service Reduction and Doubled Fares to $2|
|2011||Secured 3-year Federal Grant to add Saturdays and Evenings.|
|2014||Placed 13-cent Levy on Nov. 2014 Ballot that Failed|
|2015||31% Service Reduction due to failed ballot|
|2016||Placed 13-cent Levy on May 2016 Ballot that Passed|
|2016||Resumed Services cut in 2015 and added Routes to RCC Table Rock Campus and to Southwest Medford|
|2017||Oregon HB 2017 provides new funds to expand transit service, but these funds are not available to sustain services|
|2021||RVTD now seeks to renew local funds through 15-200 to sustain routes placed into service in 2016|
What will RVTD use the funds for?
RVTD will use the new funds to sustain Saturday and later evening service over the next five years that is currently funded under the 5-year levy passed in 2016. The funds will also support the new Route 25 to southwest Medford serving the area around South Medford HS and the new Route 61 to the Rogue Community College (RCC) Table Rock Campus. Lastly, the renewing funds will continue increased service on the Route 10 serving Medford, Phoenix, Talent and Ashland and is RVTD’s busiest route.
Why does RVTD feel this is important?
Information from RVTD’s 2018 Passenger Survey
1.Saturday Service system wide provides greater access to shopping and diverse employment:
- 1/4 of passengers use RVTD 6 days per week now that Saturdays are available.
- More part-time workers use the bus on Saturdays on average than weekdays.
- Veterans and retired passengers use the bus on Saturdays more than weekdays for shopping and visiting friends and family.
2. Route 61– Objective to serve RCC Table Rock Campus and employers:
- One of highest employed-passenger routes with 38% employed full-time and 26% employed part-time.
- 10% of passengers are RCC students heading to RCC Table Rock campus.
- 52% of Route 61 passengers do not have access to a vehicle. If Route 61 were not available 28% of riders said they would have walked and 18% would not have made the trip.
3. Route 25– Objective to serve largest low-income and multi-ethnic residential area in Rogue Valley that did not previously have regular service.
- Has highest percentage of transfers to reach other places throughout the valley.
- With this route, nearly half of passengers in southwest Medford can now reach transit within a 5-minute walk.
- 78% of Route 25 passengers use this route 5-days per week, the highest of any single route in the system.
- This route also has the highest youth riders between 19-24 and 44% of riders are part-time workers.
Should Passengers pay more to sustain services?
Since RVTD increased fare to $2.00 in 2006, we have consistently had one of the highest passenger fares in the state of Oregon. RVTD doubled passenger fares in 2006 to avoid additional cuts and would need to increase fare to $3.50 to generate the same funds the levy would generate. RVTD is not considering increasing the passenger fare, it would cause a downward spiral in ridership and income generation. Especially when you consider that 38% of RVTD’s passenger households make less than $15,000 per year.
What will happen if the levy fails?
Without the levy renewal, RVTD will need to begin preparations for reducing service. What services will be eliminated or reduced is not certain at this time but it will likely result in decreases system wide.
*RVTD’s Spring newsletter has a typo in the front page article. The 13-cent levy is per thousand per year.