Monday, December 5, 2011

Buying Local Can Help Spark the Economy

About this time last year, Community Transit launched the Buy Local for Transit campaign. The point is to encourage our bus riders and the general public to shop within our Snohomish County service area to generate revenues for our agency through sales tax (9 cents of every $10 taxable purchase goes to Community Transit). In addition to preventing future service cuts, that business activity also helps local businesses, local cities and the local economy.

If you have read our draft six-year Transit Development Plan, you know that our forecasts project very modest economic growth over the next six years. With that, there are no plans to increase transit service. Unless the economy rebounds.

It would be hard to measure the success of this campaign since any increase in sales tax revenue can be attributed to many factors, but we know the premise is sound. Increased spending in our service district helps our bottom line.

Community Transit has put Buy Local for Transit decals on our all our buses, created a webpage for the program and we describe our efforts in boilerplate language at the end of all our press releases that we send to local media.

A few of our buses have a larger Buy Local for Transit wrap that prominently touts the program everywhere they travel.

We know this is a good message because it is positive, economically upbeat and is a call to action. The idea came from rider suggestions when we held our community meetings for the 2010 service cuts. Concerned riders asked what could they do to help our agency. As we considered what riders could do we came up with this solution: buy local, generate sales tax.

As the holiday season approaches and many of our riders and their families and friends are out shopping, the message is more important than ever. Buy local, support your community and support Community Transit.

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