In late 2011, a small group of transit riders and activists joined together to found the Transit Riders Union. Over the past five years we have battled bus service cuts, championed transit expansion, and organized and fought to make sure that our public transit system is affordable and accessible for everyone in our community. We believe that mobility is a human right!
We put our boots on the ground for several ballot measures to preserve and expand public transit: King County Prop 1 and Seattle Prop 1 in 2014; the Move Seattle Levy in 2015; and Sound Transit 3 just last year. But we always endorsed these measures with reservations, because the funding mechanisms have invariably been regressive: sales tax, car tab fees, and property tax.
TRU is a democratic organization of working and poor people. We are tired of saying to other working and poor people who are struggling to get by, “If you want better public transit, we all have to pay more taxes!” when the many wealthy people in our community aren’t paying their fair share.
That’s why TRU’s response to Trump is to “Trump-proof Seattle” by building a movement for progressive taxation, in our city and beyond. We are willing to push the envelope, championing measures that are politically contentious or legally uncertain. (If they weren’t, we wouldn’t need to fight for them!) This is a time for action, for taking risks, for experimenting. We have nothing to lose. Trump is in the White House, irresponsible billionaires are running our country into the ground. We believe it is our responsibility, and the responsibility of our local elected officials, to pursue every avenue for protecting our city and winning tax justice.