King County promotes human trafficking awareness

August 7, 2012

King County plans to embark on a campaign to call awareness to human trafficking, after a July 9 decision to use ads on public buses.

The campaign is meant to inform the public about human trafficking crimes and let victims learn about available resources. Issaquah-area King County Councilman Reagan Dunn introduced the measure in May, and a council committee endorsed the proposal June 27.

“As a former federal prosecutor and member of the County Council I have seen this crisis continue to grow,” Dunn said in a statement. “Educating the public on what human trafficking is and providing information to trafficking victims on where to turn for assistance will help to combat these crimes. This motion is an important step in protecting our children and using Metro resources in a positive way.”

Under federal law, human trafficking includes children involved in the commercial sex trade, adults 18 and older coerced or deceived into commercial sex acts, and anyone forced into different forms of “labor or services” — such as domestic workers held in a home or farmworkers forced into work.

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Sound Transit earns highest possible bond ratings

July 3, 2012

Sound Transit received the highest possible ratings from major bond credit rating agencies June 27, despite a challenging economic environment.

Officials said the ratings mean savings for taxpayers in Issaquah and other communities served by the agency. Sound Transit is preparing to save at least $12 million by taking advantage of lower interest rates to refinance about $350 million of outstanding bonds.

In a June 28 decision, Sound Transit board members unanimously approved motions to set parameters to proceed with the transactions. Issaquah City Councilman Fred Butler serves on the board.

Moody’s Investor Service continued the Aa1 rating for Sound Transit’s senior bonds and the Aa2 rating for the agency’s junior “parity bond” obligations. The action maintains Sound Transit as one of the highest-rated transit agencies in the nation.

Sound Transit also carries the highest possible rating on both bond obligations, AAA, from Standard & Poor’s.

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Independence Day brings changes to transit schedules

June 29, 2012

NEW — 4:30 p.m. June 29, 2012

Issaquah bus riders should prepare for Sunday schedules on July 4 as King County Metro Transit and Sound Transit observe Independence Day.

The holiday schedule means many Metro Transit commuter bus routes do not operate. Bus riders should be sure to check the schedule for individual routes in advance of the holiday. Sunday fares go in effect on all Metro Transit routes July 4.

Due to many holiday events starting over the weekend and continuing through July 4, riders should check for bus reroutes in the Metro Online Alerts Center under the Construction & Events heading. Or, sign up for Transit Alerts to receive news about specific routes.

In addition, all Metro offices, including the Customer Information phone lines, close for holiday. When the Customer Information Office is closed, most transit information is available on Metro Online, or in the online Trip Planner.

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Ditch $4-per-gallon gas on Dump the Pump Day

June 20, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. June 20, 2012

Regional public transit agencies joined forces to encourage commuters to forgo $4-per-gallon gasoline Thursday for Dump the Pump Day.

Sound Transit, King County Metro Transit and other agencies asked commuters to board buses, trains and ferries for the national event. Organizers said more than 560,000 riders already use regional public transportation services.

Metro is reaching out to riders on Facebook to ask how they plan to dump the pump. In addition, 10 people can win a Dump the Pump T-shirt and a regional ORCA card loaded with $10. Organizers plan to select participants in a random drawing June 25.

Commuters can use the American Public Transportation Association’s monthly transit savings calculator to determine the costs of driving versus using public transit. Read more

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County accepts applications for Metro Transit board

June 19, 2012

Issaquah residents can apply to a King County board to improve transit services.

Officials need a King County Council District 3 representative for the King County Transit Advisory Commission — a panel formed last year to advise King County Metro Transit staffers, the county executive and County Council, local jurisdictions and local transportation boards.

District 3 stretches from Woodinville to Issaquah, and from Lake Sammamish to the Kittitas County line.

Members include residents, entrepreneurs and other people concerned about transit service in the county. Members must live in King County and at least half of the members represent disabled or elderly riders.

The executive appoints members and, after approval by the council, appointees serve two-year terms.

The county accepts ongoing applications for the board. Learn more about the panel, and find application information, at

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Expect transit schedule changes on Memorial Day

May 24, 2012

NEW — 2 p.m. May 24, 2012

Issaquah bus riders should expect King County Metro Transit and Sound Transit scheduled changes Monday for Memorial Day.

Metro Transit operates on a Sunday schedule for Memorial Day. The transit agency is also offering special shuttle bus service Saturday through Monday to the Folklife Festival at the Seattle Center from the Northgate Transit Center and South Renton Park & Ride.

For Metro Transit service, if a bus route does not usually operate on Sunday, then no service is offered on Memorial Day.

Metro offices also close on the holiday, including the customer information phone lines. Use the Trip Planner for travel assistance.

Read more

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King County Council to scrutinize proposed arena package

May 18, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. May 18, 2012

King County Council members intend to scrutinize a proposal to build a $490 million sports and entertainment arena in Seattle to determine if financing for the plan is feasible and if arena-related traffic could harm other businesses in the area.

County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, joined by investor Chris Hansen, a San Francisco hedge fund manager, on Tuesday announced agreements between the county, city and the ArenaCo investment group to govern financing for a proposed arena near Safeco Field.

The proposal heads to the County Council and the Seattle City Council for additional study.

The investment group intends to contribute $290 million to construction and more than $500 million to purchase a National Basketball Association franchise. Investors also hope to land a National Hockey League team for the arena.

Read more

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County transit charge appears on vehicle tab renewals

May 15, 2012

Motorists in the process of renewing vehicle license tabs should notice a $20 charge authorized by the state Legislature and enacted by the King County Council last year.

The fee, billed as a Congestion Reduction Charge, is meant to prevent cuts to King County Metro Transit bus service. The county starts collecting the fee on June renewals sent out by the state Department of Licensing. The charge remains in effect until May 2014.

The renewal forms also include information for motorists to obtain tickets for eight free ride tickets on Metro Transit. The ticket incentive program is designed to build ridership.

Motorists must fill out a request form in order to receive the tickets. The value of the tickets also can be donated to a fund to support low-income residents relying on bus service.

Find information about the ticket incentive program and eligibility requirements at Learn about the Congestion Reduction Charge at

Officials estimated the charge should generate about $50 million for transit service.

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City, businesses celebrate Bike to Work Day on May 18

May 15, 2012

City leaders, local businesses and the Cascade Bicycle Club invite bicyclists to celebrate Bike to Work Day on May 18.

The city is hosting a Salmon Friendly Commute Bike Station at the corner of state Route 900 and Northwest Sammamish Road from 6-10 a.m. Bicyclists can load up on snacks and water bottles to help fuel their trips.

Pacific Bicycle Co., a Sammamish bike shop, also plans to be on hand to do small repairs and answer questions.

Then, REI, Costco and the city plan to host a barbecue for bicyclists at Lake Sammamish State Park’s rotunda picnic area from 4-6 p.m.

May is National Bike Month.

Bicyclists using King County Metro Transit and Sound Transit ride free through May 18. The offer applies to any Metro Transit bus or ST Express bus operated by Metro Transit, including routes 554, 555 and 556 from Issaquah.

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Buses offer free rides for bicyclists during National Bike Month

May 8, 2012

May is National Bike Month, and to mark the occasion, bicyclists loading a bike onto local buses can ride for free.

Bicyclists using King County Metro Transit and Sound Transit ride free from May 14-18.

The offer applies to any Metro Transit bus or ST Express bus operated by Metro Transit, including routes 554, 555 and 556 from Issaquah.

Each bus has three spaces on a bike rack available on a first-come, first-served basis.

If the bus’ bike rack is full, cyclists should be prepared to wait for the next bus or consider leaving the bike parked in a bike rack at a transit facility.

Many Metro Transit and Sound Transit facilities also offer bike lockers.

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