After a year of conversations with the Whatcom Transportation Authority (WTA) about reestablishing an intercounty shuttle service to the Point, Point Roberts Community Advisory Committee (PRCAC) finally got a response to their pleas.
Before the pandemic, WTA had been supplying a weekly shuttle service for Point Roberts, but the service was halted when Covid began. In a meeting of the Point Roberts Community Advisory Committee on February 16, an email from Jed Holmes, the Community Outreach Facilitator for the Whatcom County Executive’s Office, was read indicating WTA has no intention of resuming its service. Various reasons were defined within the email including no sufficient demand to warrant a service, inability to legally operate as a service to Canadian destinations, difficulty to identify a service regime, and that the Circle of Care has a vehicle and provides a shuttle service that serve the neediest and is responsive to individual needs.
“Point Roberts pays a small fraction of their sales tax into the WTA district, so we should get service of some sort.” said Mark Robbins, president of the taxpayer’s association. If we are not getting service, one possibility is to remove the WTA tax from our sales tax. This would require creating a new tax code and would help Point Roberts see the amount we pay into the tax code. Allison Calder, commissioner of the Point Roberts Community Advisory committee said, “Point Roberts has been asking for a portion of the sales tax that goes to Whatcom County, and if we came out of the taxing code, we could actually know how much that is.”
Prakash Sundaresan is on the community transportation advisory group (CTAG) for Whatcom County as a representative of Point Roberts. He has undertaken the task of communication with the WTA for PRCAC. Sundaresan said, “My concern is that it’s somewhat of a slippery slope for the county and service providers of various kinds and WTA being one of them, to say it’s too difficult to service Point Roberts and then wash their hands of us. That’s not the relationship that other communities have with the county, so I don’t’ know why we should put up with that.”
Sundaresan continued, “I think this would be a good time to get input from the community on what priority is for such a service, how many people would like to see it resumed, and what its parameters would be so we could better represent the needs of the community with the county and the WTA.”
Sundaresan will design a short survey to define the community’s need for such a service that will be available both online and offline. With the proposed survey, PRCAC hopes to provide WTA with the information necessary to develop a service that meets the needs of Point Roberts.
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