County seeks residents’ input on proposed transit cuts
July 5, 2011
NEW — 6 a.m. July 5, 2011
Offer input to King County leaders as the County Council considers cuts to bus service and a proposed charge to stave off such cuts.
The council’s Transportation, Economy and Environment Committee is hosting a series hearings to listen to public testimony on the proposed Metro Transit service cuts sent to the council by County Executive Dow Constantine.
The committee scheduled meetings in Kirkland, Seattle and Burien from Wednesday to July 21.
“King County has a choice of cutting 17 percent of our transit service — taking the system back to 1996 service levels — or preserving current service levels by enacting a $20 congestion reduction charge on vehicles in King County,” Councilman Larry Phillips, committee chairman, said in a statement. “These meetings are an opportunity for the public to learn about the proposed service cuts and weigh in on the future of Metro transit.”
The meeting schedule is:
- 6 p.m. Wednesday
- Kirkland City Hall, City Council Chambers
- 123 Fifth Ave.
- 6 p.m. July 12
- King County Courthouse, County Council Chambers
- 10th Floor, 516 Third Ave.
- 6 p.m. July 21
- Burien City Hall, City Council Chambers
- 400 S.W. 152nd St.
Due to a drop in sales tax revenue, Metro Transit is facing a $60 million annual budget gap between revenue and the cost to provide transit service at current levels.
That shortfall could require Metro to reduce service by 600,000 hours of annual bus service during through 2013, or 17 percent of the entire system. Such a reduction is the equivalent of cutting all weekend transit service or all weekday rush hour bus service for commuters.
Since 2007, Metro Transit has raised fares by 80 percent. Officials also negotiated labor agreements to reduce Metro Transit’s costs by $17 million per year.
In the recent session, state legislators authorized King County to create a $20 charge on vehicle license tabs to generate funds for Metro Transit.