Amalgamated Transportation Union Local 704 has joined the campaign to Vote No on Issue 1.

A release, including a statement from Local president Carl Beecham:

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 “As the union representing bus and streetcar operators, mechanics and other employees of Rock Region Metro here in Pulaski County, my members and I urge voters to reject this regressive and permanent sales tax which falls hardest on working families in the state. In addition,” he added, “it’s time that ArDOT, like more and more state Departments of Transportation, support public transportation, along with other modes of transportation and not just build roads.  We have time to create a smarter, fairer and detailed road and bridge maintenance program.”

 Law Professor Joshua Silverstein, the Vice Chair of the No Permanent Tax. Vote No on Issue 1 Committee and a plaintiff in the I-30 widening lawsuit, welcomed the representatives of the state’s largest public transit system to the No campaign.  “Arkansas’ state sales tax is the 9th highest in the country. The Governor and State Legislature continue to promote this regressive tax that falls hardest on low- and middle-income Arkansans,” Silverstein said. “We can vote down Issue 1 and still have over 2.5 years to develop a fairer tax and better plan before the temporary tax expires.’”

 The Amalgamated Transportation Union represents public transit employees, interstate bus company employees and employees at paratransit transportation companies across the United States.  Rock Region Metro is the public transportation agency serving Pulaski County with funding from the County and the cities of Little Rock and North Little Rock. In 2017 ATU Local 704 members provided over 2.5 million trips on Rock Region Metro’s bus, streetcar and paratransit services.

 Arkansas has 9 rural area public transit systems and 8 urbanized area public transit systems (classification is federal). In 2020 Arkansas cities and counties will budget approximately $36.1 million to fund these services. ArDOT will provide only $4.3 million in state transit support.