Council Members on STA Board Set to Consider Historic STA Promotional Fare for Expo '74 Celebration

Lisa Gardner, City Council Communications Director, 509.625.6226

Wednesday, April 17, 2024 at 3:27 p.m.

Council President Betsy Wilkerson and Council Members Paul Dillon, Kitty Klitzke, and Zack Zappone who serve on the Spokane Transit Authority (STA) Board, will consider a historic rate fare reduction to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1974 World’s Fair, which will run May 4 – July 4, 2024. The vote will occur on Thursday, April 18, during the 1:30 pm STA Board of Directors meeting at 1230 W Boone Ave. 

“The promotional free-fare program has garnered widespread support from many elected officials and community leaders,” said Council President Betsy Wilkerson.  “As STA Board Members, we received a letter from Washington Senate Transportation Chair, Senator Marko Liias, encouraging us to support a free-rate fare indicating other transit agencies have executed similar successful programs as promotion of their city but also of their easily accessible transit system.  Spokane is a city that leads, and this would be a sure way to demonstrate our leadership and a small concession to our residents and guests of our City for this historic event.”

"Our community has a tremendous resource in the Spokane Transit Authority, and I would love to see more people become familiar with our transit system, said Mayor Lisa Brown.  “Providing free fares during the Expo 50 celebration provides an opportunity to include everyone in the upcoming festivities, create a new generation of bus riders, and help us in our goal to reduce carbon emissions."

On March 21, 2024, City Council Members passed their own resolution, committing to partner with the Spokane Transit Authority to adopt a promotional 'Expo '74 Free Fare' program. This program would encourage regional participation in events celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1974 World's Fair in Spokane and continue Expo’s legacy of environmental stewardship.  The resolution was passed in anticipation of an influx of national and international guests to the City of Spokane, demonstrating the city's preparedness and commitment to equity in rider rate fares during the celebrations. 

“The City of Spokane is gearing up to celebrate Expo 50, where we will welcome visitors from all over the country and world to our beautiful city,” said Council Member Kitty Klitzke.  “As gracious hosts, it would be commendable to offer a free fare program that will be beneficial to our guests but would also capture new riders within our city, engage commuters to join in Expo events, reduce congestion, and avoid the headache of parking scarcity during the many events between May and June. If we’re to be successful in being good environmental stewards at an environmentally themed celebration, the clear and intelligent suggestion would be to offer free transportation.”

In addition to allocating $250,000 to support Expo 50, the City Council has committed $100,000 by resolution of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to help offset the cost of offering two months of free fare during the Expo celebration.

“As chair of the environmental stewardship pillar of the Expo 50 Celebration, I fully support two months of free fare, which would break down barriers for new riders to try STA and attend the Expo events,” said Amanda Parrish, Executive Director of the Lands Council. “Public transit is a key part of connecting people now and to building towards a more sustainable future.”

“The Expo 50 Celebration is an opportunity to bring more people to our region to support local businesses and cultural events. A free fare promotion at STA would allow visitors to get around without worrying about parking,” said Rose Nobel, CEO of Visit Spokane.

About the Spokane City Council
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