SPET, our Town and County’s ‘Specific Purpose Excise Tax,’ is a penny of sales tax for capital and infrastructure projects. Tourists pay more than 50% of sales tax collected in our area.
Voting for SPET initiatives will not increase taxes as this penny is already in-place. You can vote for any or all of the initiatives on this year’s ballot. SPET Initiatives that receive a majority of votes will keep the SPET penny in-place until they are funded. You can learn more about all the SPET initiatives here.
Transportation Alternatives and Safe Routes to School is a $15,000,000 SPET measure that will pay for key projects aimed at reducing traffic, improving commute times, growing the pathway network, and enhancing bike safety for kids. It is the number three SPET measure on your ballot, and we ask that you vote for it.
What you get:
- A 2,800-square foot transit center in Stilson lot with six electric bus bays, electric car charging, long-term bike storage, and e-bike charging.
- Twelve upgraded traffic lights that prioritize START buses with green lights – never sit at a red light on a bus again. This technology will be adopted by emergency vehicles in the future.
- New pathway section on the south side of HWY 22, connecting a new neighborhood to the pathway network, providing a direct connection to Wilson, a pathway tunnel under HWY 22 to Wilson School, a pathway bridge over Fish Creek, cross walks at West Street and the Wilson Post Office.
- New pathway sections in town creating safe routes to school for elementary, middle school, and high school students, better connecting neighborhoods to the pathway network.
Why is it needed?
- Eases traffic congestion.
- Grows pathway network.
- Enhances safety for pedestrians and cyclists.
- Improves quality of life.
- Reduces carbon footprint of Teton County by encouraging more walking, biking, and bussing.
- In addition to funding town and county projects already in the planning and design stages, this SPET measure will help meet a required 20 percent local funding match for the $25 Million federal BUILD Grant project awarded to Teton County in 2021. The federal BUILD Grant funds 13 alternative transportation projects.
Article reposted from the Jackson Hole News & Guide
Click here to read the article on the Jackson Hole News&Guide website
SPET: $15 million sought for transportation alternatives
By Sophia Boyd-Fliegel Oct 12, 2022
Teton County and Jackson elected officials want more people on buses and bikes, and fewer clogging the streets in single-occupancy cars. The county-sponsored $15 million SPET proposal aims to make faster buses and safer bikers to incentivize people to drive less. If approved, the bulk of the money would be spent on pathway and sidewalk projects for “safer routes to school.”
At the top of the list is a pathway on the south side of High School Road, improving the intersection with Highway 89. The community has also called for improvements along Scott Lane, Maple Way, Gregory Lane, Willow Street and South Park Loop. In Wilson, an underpass will connect Wilson Elementary School to a pathway running on the south side of Highway 22 from Wilson to Stilson, complete with another bridge over Fish Creek.
The remaining third of funds would go to transit projects that are part of the town and county’s vision for the federal BUILD grant, aiming to reduce traffic and connect the region’s bedroom communities with “safe, convenient and efficient transportation alternatives.”
SPET money would help install 12 bus prioritization signals around the county — what Teton County Public Works Director Heather Overholser calls “green lights for buses.”
The money would also go to revamping the Stilson lot into a “transportation hub” for more than just skiers with 400 more parking spots, a new “transit center” slated to be built by 2025, covered bike parking and larger bus bays.
The transportation SPET is “critical,” Overholser said, to completing the cross-county BUILD grant projects in the goal four years. If the SPET isn’t funded, she said, public works would look to town and county funds and outside grants to fill the $4.7 million gap of public money to BUILD transit projects.
As for the safer routes to school, e-bikes are likely top of mind. E-bikes are new problem not addressed in this SPET.
“But we’re actively working with Friends of Pathways and the school district to remedy that situation,” Overholser said.
In 2019, voters funded a $8.5 million SPET for street, stormwater and sewer infrastructure, and a Safe Route to School, mostly on Gregory Lane. This year, the town of Jackson also has a $3 million SPET item that’s focused filling in the gaps of sidewalks in the town.
Compared to those funds the transportation alternatives SPET is spread more broadly around the county.
These projects listed would involve multiple different agencies and nonprofits that Overholser said her department is poised to work with.
“If these funds are approved by the voters, we will leverage those relationships and teamwork already in place,” she said.
Transportation projects are ultimately aimed at easing the spillover effects of the housing crisis, Overholser said, as the county’s workforce continues to face long commutes. Taking cars off the road will also help reduce carbon emissions, noise and air pollution and wildlife-vehicle collisions.
The county estimates the project will bring 172 jobs in the region and save local families $25 million on transportation over 20 years.
Ballot item No. 3 $15 million Teton County requests — for projects to improve transportation alternatives in the county and town, including the planning, design, engineering, and constructing of pathways and sidewalks for safe routes to school, commuting, and recreation as well as the Stilson transit center and park-n-ride facility and the purchase and installation of transit prioritization traﬃc signals and other public transit infrastructure.