County seeks residents’ input on proposed transit cuts

July 5, 2011

By Staff

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.

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Comments

One Response to “County seeks residents’ input on proposed transit cuts”

  1. Vincent Koskela on July 6th, 2011 4:30 pm

    JULY 06, 2011

    KING COUNTY COUNCIL:

    King County Metro Transit has spent too much money on unnecessary frills like automated call stops, expensive small hybrid department cars for driver relief uses, hybrid articulate buses doing routes better suited for the 40 foot Gillig buses, adding rapid ride service in areas that are not compatible for it, remodeling bases that were not in need of major upgrades, etc.. Why were the on-board security camera installations scrapped?

    The 40 foot Gillig is an outstanding reliable bus. Spending over $550,000.00 for hybrid articulate busses when 40 foot Gilligs cost only $260,000.00 makes little sense.

    There is nothing objectionable with a $20.00 increase in license tabs, but, King County Metro needs to economize more and get rid of the notion that it must keep up with the Jones’s (other US Transit Agencies) by continually splurging on state of the art ginger bread technology additions. Providing somewhere to sit while waiting for a bus is a greater need for senior citizens & the disabled.

    PLEASE, DO NOT CUT SERVICE.

    How about a meaningful litter fine ($100 to $500) with the proceeds going to King County Metro bus service. Now, there’s a cash cow that would serve 2 needed purposes.

    King County did nothing to address the obscene rise in the cost of diesel fuel. A federal fuel credit could have been obtained by simply demanding it.

    Simply move people safely and on time in an efficient manner and scrap the visions of grandeur and the obsession for opulence.

    Sincerely,

    Vincent Koskela

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