Pierce Transit, in full the Pierce County Public Transportation Benefit Area Corporation, is the public transit authority of Pierce County, Washington. Based in Lakewood, Washington, it was founded in 1979. Operating buses, SHUTTLE services for the disabled, vanpool and a ridematching database for those who wish to carpool, Pierce Transit's system is connected with surrounding regional transit systems, including ferries and trains.
In 1979, a 0.3% sales tax was created by popular vote to fund public transportation. Pierce Transit was accordingly formed to manage transit. In 2002, after Initiative 695 eliminated the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax (another funding mechanism for local transit in Washington State), that funding was replaced with an additional 0.3% sales tax to fund transit operations. Pierce Transit is operated by nine-member Board of Commissioners composed of elected officials throughout the county. The Board of Commissioners operates under a Chief Executive Officer, Lynne Griffith. A staff of approximately 1,000 man the five departments, with over 50% working in Transit Operations.
Pierce Transit contracts with the Pierce County Sheriff's Department for police services. There are currently 10 patrol deputies assigned full-time to Pierce Transit. Pierce Transit became the first Transit System in Washington State with its own Police Department (Pierce Transit Department of Public Safety) in 2009. The command staff of Pierce Transit Police include a Deputy Chief and a Supervising Sergeant (both provided by the Pierce County Sheriff's Department - under contract) and the Transit Police Chief (non-contracted). The Pierce Transit system is also patrolled by 10 specially commissioned Peace Officers (Transit Security Officers).
Pierce Transit argues that it is now in an unsustainable state due to its reserves running out, and as a result, must cut service by 53% in order to become sustainable again. Pierce Transit argues that if taxes within its service area are increased by 0.3%, Pierce Transit would not have to cut service, and instead improve service by 23%.  Some argue against this .3% tax increase in Pierce County (also known as Proposition 1), as it will increase the sales tax to 10.1% (the "highest on the West Coast"), and that funds may be currently mismanaged (the average annual employee compensation for Pierce Transit is $93,546)  Pierce Transit proposed a similar increase in sales tax in 2011, which was eventually rejected by the public.  Proposition 1, proposed in the 2012 general election, has also been rejected by the public.