A strong Metro system is important to all of us in the Washington region. It is fundamental to a healthy economy and our area’s good quality of life, by helping workers get to their jobs, supporting our tourism industry, making it easy to get to a restaurant or a ballpark, and reducing traffic congestion. And everyone agrees that the Metro system needs new resources to rebuild its health. But a regional sales tax—a widely discussed option—would be an unfair way to pay for it. A sales tax would ask struggling families in the Washington region to bear the largest responsibility for improving our transportation system, while leaving businesses and high-income households largely off the hook.
The impact on family income of a 1 percent regional sales tax—a widely discussed Metro funding option—would be five times greater for the lowest-income families in the region, as a share of their income, as it would be for the richest families.