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With Prop. 1 defeated, King County to move to eliminate 72 bus routes

SEATTLE — King County Executive Dow Constantine announced Wednesday that, with the defeat of Proposition 1 in the special election, he will send legislation Thursday to the County Council to eliminate 72 Metro Transit bus routes and reduce service by 550,000 hours.

“We gave the voters a choice, and presented a proposal for saving Metro Transit and maintaining our roads,” Constantine said. “They have chosen a reduced level of service, and we will carry out the will of the voters. Tomorrow I will transmit legislation to the King County Council to reduce service by 550,000 hours and eliminate 72 bus routes.”

“I am saddened that in the coming months we will see dramatic cuts to our region’s bus service,” said King County Council Vice Chairman Joe McDermott, chairman of the council’s budget committee. “But, the voters have spoken, and it is our responsibility to carry out their wishes. We will not stop our efforts to get more sustainable and fair revenue options from Olympia.”

metrobusesProposition 1 would have implemented a $60 vehicle fee and increased the King County sales tax by 0.1%, with the revenues being directed toward maintaining Metro Transit bus service at its current hours and supporting road repair and maintenance in cities.

With the rejection of Proposition 1, starting in September Metro will implement the adopted phased-in plan to eliminate 72 bus routes and reduce or revise another 84 routes to live within reduced revenues, King County said in a news release.

Meanwhile, a public transit advocacy group is hoping the public will vote to increase property taxes to save bus routes.

The advocacy group Friends of Transit announced it intends to file an initiative for the November 2014 election that would attempt to save King County Metro service within Seattle city limits by increasing property taxes.

Prop. 1 is failing 55 percent to 44 percent with a majority of ballots counted Wednesday afternoon. After Wednesday’s ballot count, there were a total of 224,441  (54.51%) “no” votes and 187,324 (45.49%) “yes” votes.

Officials with Friends of Transit propose an increase in the city’s property tax by $0.22 per $1,000 of assessed value between 2015 and 2021. Officials said their proposal could raise up to $25 million a year for the next six years, enough to reverse most of the planned cuts.

It could also help reduce cuts to routes operating between Seattle and other cities.

Ben Schiendelman, founder of Friends of Transit, said Seattle could be irreversibly hurt by a permanent cut in transit, especially as ridership has increased to about 400,000 a day.

“Seattle will grind to a halt if we don’t act fast to save buses,” Schiendelman said. “Seattle voters want better transit. We will not rest until we have reversed these cuts and begun making the investments we need to provide Seattle with the transit system it deserves.”

In order to file an initiative, Friends of Transit will need to fill petitions with enough signatures to equal or surpass 10 percent of the last mayoral vote turnout.

Officials hope to file the initiative by the end of the week, they said.

 

 

 

 

 

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11 comments

  • SeattleLifer

    how come Metro doesn't just raise bus fares? not knowing any of the backstory and from this article only… here is what I've gathered..

    It will cost approximately $25M/year to keep the Metro running at normal service
    There are approximately 400,000 riders per day

    Rather than making car owners or property owner pay for this, why are they not increasing the bus fares? A 25 cent increase to bus fares across the board will bring in about $36M annually given the 400,000 riders/day is true.

    • Suzy

      that's because most people use orca cards which are prepaid as unlimited. If you increase bus fare by 25 cents, it doesn't matter towards school students and workers who pay for unlimited Orca cards which they can easily go over how much they paid for anyway.

  • Slam1263

    HAHA!!

    To everyone that voted for Dow Constipated, and his $400,000 a year job/directorships; Congrats!

    Elections have consequences, remember that next time he comes up for a vote.

  • Guest

    Rather than raising fares for the people who can least afford it (people making minimum wage and people who do not have access to private automobiles), eliminate service to the areas of King County that voted against Proposition. Don't these suburbanites realize that for every bus you take off the road due to eliminated routes, commuter traffic and gridlock increases. Oh that would require thinking ahead rather than just looking in their pocketbooks when they went to cast their ballots. As someone who visits Seattle yearly and takes transit while I'm there this was a poor decision by the voters of King County.

    • SeattleLifer

      At this point, what's the alternative? Reduce the routes, lay off employees and force bus riders to find MORE EXPENSIVE alternative means of transportation? Raising fare is easier and does not require a county vote or legislations to be passed. Yes, not ideal for the for the people who are already struggling as it is, but the way I see it, a fare increase for KC Metro does make the most logical sense. … unless there is something I'm missing.

  • Guest also

    The people did not vote for less service as the arrogance of Constantine states, they voted for more value. Cut the fricken costs for real. You do not deserve to be an elected representative


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