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Prop 1 failure has local leaders scrambling to figure out what’s next for Metro
The defeat of Proposition 1 last week has local leaders scrambling to figure out what’s next.
The measure was set to allow King County to create a Transportation Benefit District (TBD) to fund King County Metro and address infrastructure issues in the county’s transportation system
The 55-45 defeat of the measure had county leaders in a grim mood.
“The voters have not rejected Metro. They have voted against this particular means of funding Metro - the only one available under state law. A state transportation package has always been our first choice. But, after years of trying, time ran out for action in Olympia,” King County Executive Dow Constantine said in an April 23 press release. “We gave the voters a choice, and presented a proposal for saving Metro Transit and maintaining our roads. They have chosen a reduced level of service, and we will carry out the will of the voters.”
Constantine said he planned on immediately sending a resolution to the King County Council to “reduce service by 550,000 hours and eliminate 72 bus hours.”
According to maps provided by King County Metro, the anticipated cuts will be felt in Federal Way. Routes 178, 179, 901 and 173 are set to be eliminated altogether, while the remaining routes in Federal Way appear as though they will fall under the “reduced or revised” category. Those include routes 181, 182, 187, 197 and 903.
County Council chair Larry Phillips, who also chairs the King County Transportation District, said the will of the voters will be carried out, and cautioned patience for all who find themselves using Metro going forward.
“The defeat of Proposition 1 means King County will make adjustments necessary to ensure that Metro Transit provides service with the funding that’s available,” Phillips said. “King County’s focus will not waver: we will continue to maintain a public transit service that has been nationally recognized for doing our level best to get people where they need to go. But everyone must recognize that with the loss of funds, it will take a little longer to get there and you may have to go farther to get to the bus you need.”
The TBD that would have been created with the approval of Prop 1 would have allowed the county to tack on an additional $60 “vehicle fee” and also increase the sales tax by .1 percent in the county. Backers of the measure believed those numbers would have allowed Metro to maintain its current service levels, and also allow the county to begin addressing road issues throughout the county.
The expected cuts are set to begin on Sept. 1, while a county sub-committee is “preparing to hold a series of special night meetings to receive public comment on the executive’s proposed legislation, which the full Council is expected to act on before the end of May.”
The Council announced on Tuesday that its Transportation, Economy and Environment sub-committee would hold a number of meetings throughout May, beginning at 6 p.m. on May 13 at Union Station in the Ruth Fisher boardroom (401 S. Jackson St., Seattle). The next meeting begins at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 15, at Bellevue City Hall (450 110th Ave. NE, Bellevue), and will round out the meetings beginning at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 20 at the Renton Pavilion Event Center (233 Burnett Ave. S., Renton).
Rod Dembowski, council member and chair of the Transportation, Economy and Environment committee, said the county finds itself in uncharted waters when it comes to these cuts.
“The county has never seen transit cuts on this scale,” he said in a release from his office. “The public deserves an opportunity to learn how they may be personally impacted and to provide input to the Council as we implement these reductions. In addition to our regular weekday committee meetings, we have scheduled three evening meetings across the county to allow the public an opportunity to ask questions and provide input on the proposed service reductions.”
For more information of the transit service reductions, go to: www.kingcounty.gov/council/issues/TransitCuts