RVTD tax levy needed for weekend and evening bus routes

, Written by Roma Villavicencio, Posted: Mon, July 7 2014 at 10:19 PM, Updated: Mon, July 7 2014 at 11:54 PM

Medford, Ore.--  Riding the bus is a daily routine for many in the Rogue Valley.

"I like to ride the bus, I mean it's convenient during 105 temperatures, it's nice that there's AC, and it's cheap I have to get to and from the sitters to work," said Austin Huntley from Ashland.

But that evening commute could soon come at a higher cost.

Julie Brown with the Rogue Valley Transportation District said voters will need to pass a tax levy in November to keep evening and weekend rides coming.

"If we're going to continue that service we're going to have to ask the local tax payers to actually put that on their property taxes."

Right now tax payers match a nearly one million dollar federal grant by paying 17 cents per $1,000  assessed property value.

But the three year grant is about to run out. 

"There isn't really a lot of federal or state grants that are out there," said Brown. 

If voters pass the levy in November, the tax would go up more than 75% adding another 13 cents per$1,000 in assessed property value. 

"You'd be surprised when you're providing over 1 million rides per year that there's a lot of people dependent on the bus," said Brown.

She said the cost will translate into keeping a crucial service especially for low income residents who need the ride to get to and from work.

"Without the bus system I would really have a hard time balancing my time," said Shyloh Hineline. 

"I think it's very important for the transportation district to always have a morning and evening commute from Ashland to Medford into Central Point for all the people involved," said Austin Huntley.

The 30-cent tax translates into $20.00 annually for a house valued at $150,000.

The bus schedule will operate normally until at least next june when the grant money runs out.

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About the Author

Roma Villavicencio

NBC5 News reporter Roma Villavicencio comes from Southern California where she reported for Garden Grove TV Channel 3.

She is a graduate of the journalism/communications program at Cal State Fullerton.

Roma is very proud of her Mexican heritage. She is bi-lingual and looks forward to serving our Hispanic community.

She loves food, music and the San Francisco Giants. She lives by the slogan “viva la vida!”

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