Metro Transit cuts ahead as vote goes heavily against tax measure

King County gets ready for bus service cuts as voters appear to turn down Prop. 1's transit and road improvements by a 10 percentage-point margin.
Rush hour in Downtown Seattle

Rush hour in Downtown Seattle Christopher Nelson Photography

Update 9:47 p.m.

A tax and fee package to preserve Metro Transit service is trailing badly in the first round of vote counts. "We will proceed with cuts," said King County Executive Dow Constantine. 

The measure was behind by a 10 percentage points, with 55.2 percent voting against the proposal and 44.7 in favor. The measure needs majority approval in order to pass. 

Dick Paylor, a volunteer in a campaign against the measure and a member of the Eastside Tranportation Association wasn't ready to claim victory. But he acknowledged that the chances of a change in the outcome appeared slim.

At stake is the strength of Metro Transit service and its ability to maintain or expand in coming years, as well as help for road improvements around King County. Metro has outlined a potential 17 percent cut in service that could include eliminating some 70 routes around the county later this year and reducing service on many others. Cuts at that level are expected to affect 80 percent of all routes. Metro has reportedly been collecting more revenue on the existing sales tax recently, so there have been doubts expressed about whether cuts would have to be that extensive.

Constantine didn't assign a percentage to the service cuts, referring instead to the elimination of 72 routes. Measure opponent Paylor said the county should be able to confine the cuts to extremely low performing routes and services, such as late night runs. He said there is no need to make cuts that would hurt commuters.

The 10-year countywide proposition calls for imposing a .1 percent sales tax increase and a $60 per year car tab fee to support Metro Transit and road improvements in cities and unincorporated parts of the county. There would also be a rebate program for low-income individuals which would return $20 on each car tab fee. 

Supporters of the proposal essentially conceded defeat soon after the first votes came in. They didn't absolutely rule out the possibility that the voting results could change but they said their back-of-the-envelope calculations offered no reason to believe it could happen.

Constantine told a crowd of supporters, "The voters have spoken." Later, standing in a light Seattle rain outside Kell's Irish bar in Pike Place Market, he told reporters the tax package, especially the annual car tab fees, was something that worried voters. "It is a hard sell," Constantine said, "and we knew it was a hard sell."

Deputy County Executive Fred Jarrett described the opposition campaign as "brilliant propaganda" about Metro that neglected to take into account the agency's recent efficiency improvements.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray praised Constantine's leadership and the campaign for the measure, adding that transit and road supporters alike have work to do in Olympia to spur lawmakers to approve a transportation package. 

Alluding to his own Olympia experience with winning approval for gay marriage, Murray said, "We will win, if not tonight, on transit, over the next few years ... We have no choice."

Paylor noted that, aside from concerns about car tabs or the idea of any tax increase, voters appeared to be signaling Metro to live within its means. He said voters strongly value transit but believe its subsidy is disproportionate to what it contributes to transportation overall.

Supporters of the measure called it vital to protecting Metro Transit from cuts caused by the expiration of a $20 per year congestion reduction charge on car registrations. Supporters warned that Metro cuts could hamper the region's economic growth, worsen congestion and air pollution and damage job prospects for lower-income families.

Critics had suggested that Metro might be exaggerating its needs, arguing that the improving economy is likely to create enough sales tax revenue to compensate for some of the revenue losses. They also contend that Metro should create efficiencies in what they describe as one of the most expensive transit systems nationally and drive a harder bargain with its unionized bus drivers. Some critics said the measure amounts to a taxpayer and driver subsidy of costs that transit fares should cover. 


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Comments:

Posted Tue, Apr 22, 9:30 p.m. Inappropriate

Well, this is welcome news.

Simon

Posted Tue, Apr 22, 10:31 p.m. Inappropriate

Is Crosscut an apologist for King County and METRO? It sure seems like it from this piece. Just every once in a while, could the voters be right and the King County Executive and METRO be WRONG? As to the punative cuts scheduled to be made...can we as the voting public be allowed to say to King County and METRO..do so at your own peril. It's not a threat, it's a promise.

Cameron

Posted Wed, Apr 23, 9:45 a.m. Inappropriate

In answer to your first question, for the most part, yes. Clearly.

Posted Wed, Apr 23, 11:46 a.m. Inappropriate

Or isn't it possible that voters believed wild stories that aren't supported by actual facts? And what exactly do you expect the agency to do? Run service without funding?

If you voted, NO, then this is what you asked for... More crowded buses, more cars in traffic with you, more people parking in your neighbhorhood to access the bus routes that don't get cut.

This is what you were told would happen, and this is the choice voters made. It's not a game. Transit-dependent riders, businesses that depend on shipping products, road maintenace are all going to suffer more because of this.

Mickymse

Posted Wed, Apr 23, 12:57 p.m. Inappropriate

Yes. We were lied to by about $650,000 worth of Pro Prop 1 propaganda.

It appears the majority of King County voters were not impressed with the Pro Prop 1 lies and voted it down. This is a good thing.

Now we can see if Metro's hysterical threats actually happen.

Just as a hint, Community Transit cut bus service by 37% and nothing bad happened.

And Portland's Trimet transit cut service hours by 13% and nothing bad happened.

Let me know when the traffic gridlock in Seattle is supposed to happen, please.

Thank you.

Lincoln

Posted Tue, Apr 22, 10:43 p.m. Inappropriate

If Prop 1 does indeed fail, it can probably be attributed to our elected officials getting greedy and trying to use the threat of a KC Metro service reduction to raise several times what was needed to avoid it.

Despite trying to be a well informed voter I have yet to learn what percentage cut KC Metro actually faces in its budget although it is clear that it is significantly less than the 17% cut in service that has been touted. If Metro cannot impose vertical cuts that limit the reduction in service to the reduction in funding, then they need to explain very clearly why.

Although fares have increased in recent years, KC Metro is still nowhere near having a progressive fare structure in which all affluent bus riders or their employers pay a larger share of the costs of service. Instituting one could make up a lot of the shortfall and would be a lot fairer than the regressive taxes the voters appear to be rejecting.

Finally, we hear a lot about full buses passing riders but with the exception of buses back from CenturyLink Field and other sporting events I have yet to ride a KC Metro bus that was truly full like the transit systems in New York, London, Tokyo or many other major cities at rush hour. Instead standing riders in the back of the bus make only a token effort to crowd together in response to the driver's pleas to move to the back of the bus. Perhaps it is different on some routes but KC Metro needs to figure out how to consistently pack its rush hour buses so that the substantial subsidies for public transit have their maximum effect.

WSDW

Posted Wed, Apr 23, 12:39 a.m. Inappropriate


"He [Mr. Paylor] said there is no need to make cuts that would hurt commuters."

Ah, but that is EXACTLY where the bulk of cuts need to be made, because most commuters -- especially those from the East side -- have the option to drive. Most Metro service hours, especially in the East and South King County areas, are dedicated to commuter service.

I feel strongly that the proper way to do this is to truncate any commute-only route which passes through a precinct which voted "No" and does not pass through another precinct which voted "Yes" "outbound" from the "No" precinct. The route would be truncated at the closest practicable turn around "inbound" from the inner boundary of the "No"-voting precinct.

This is democracy in action; the voters of that precinct declared a disinterest in transit service so Metro should not bother them with buses traveling through their neighborhood.

Since one of the favorite complaints of the "No" voters is "all those buses running around empty", this should aid them in coming to peace with the remaining service. At least they won't have to see such "empty" buses near their homes.

As they say in Latin class: "caveat votor".

Anandakos

Posted Wed, Apr 23, 8:13 a.m. Inappropriate

You advocate that a public agency should punish the geographic areas that voted against their inattention to running a cost-efficient service-oriented business?

Posted Wed, Apr 23, 11:49 a.m. Inappropriate

You advocate government-run transit agencies should punish minorities, children, low-income adults, and/or seniors in order to run like a "cost-efficient service-oriented business" instead of a community benefit?

Mickymse

Posted Wed, Apr 23, 1 p.m. Inappropriate

Nobody is being "punished," unless Metro chooses to do so.

Operating 40-foot and 60-foot buses with nobody or almost nobody on them is patently stupid. Nobody should support such stupidity.

Metro should cut the many, many buses that operate with nobody, or almost nobody on them. This will affect almost nobody, by definition.

Lincoln

Posted Wed, Apr 23, 6:32 p.m. Inappropriate

Only mickymse would think such a thing.

Posted Wed, Apr 23, 10:17 a.m. Inappropriate

In the police state of Singapore, where just about everyone lives in government-owned housing, buildings that do not vote strongly enough for the ruling party get no maintenance. Apparently Anandakos wishes to live under such a system; vote against the government, the government punishes you.

DTNelson

Posted Wed, Apr 23, 5:16 a.m. Inappropriate

Anandakos suggests that the bus service be cut in districts that voted "No", Fair enough and typically petty response from the County and METRO. Those districts should continue to vote in a redistricting action under RCW 36.57A and insist on removal from the METRO service and taxing district. Independent, contracted services could probably do the job for far less money...that is METRO and King Counties biggest fear, competition that exposes just badly they have been performing for the tax dollar.

Cameron

Posted Wed, Apr 23, 6:45 a.m. Inappropriate

You've nailed it. If a private transit system were somehow allowed to compete with Metro, they'd without doubt eventually do at least as good a job getting people from Point A to Point B and without the layers of bureaucracy that any government-run entity is quick to add and slow to redact.

Note how Metro is responding to this likely ballot failure by cutting services and deliberately hurting citizens instead of cutting its own wasteful spending and becoming more efficient...this is what almost ALWAYS happens when voters go against the government. Instead, people will be stuck with a Soviet-style system that's long on lines and short on bread. Anything but accountability.

Posted Wed, Apr 23, 8:16 a.m. Inappropriate

I'd be happy to see the privatization of WSDOT, Metro, WSF and Sound Transit, but for today, I'd prefer to hear Dow Constatine admit Metro is messed up financially, and it is not for lack of money.

Posted Wed, Apr 23, 9:48 a.m. Inappropriate

Don't hold your breath.

Posted Sat, Apr 26, 2:19 p.m. Inappropriate

Cameron,

I expect that the citizens of Seattle, Shoreline and Lake City would very much like for you and the folks like you to "secede" from the transit portion of Metro. But only if you agree to press your legislators to allow them complete freedom of taxation -- well, no one is going to permit an income tax, but no artificial limitations of millage or assessments -- so that they can meet their needs for transit.

In any case, I expect that if you take time to investigate the cuts plan closely you'll see that Metro planners have essentially accomplished what I advocated without making it explicit. It's no secret that the folks who don't like the communal nature of transit don't use it. So it's not surprising that in this time of exaltation of the selfish "individual", they don't vote to support it.

The cuts axe nearly all of the lowest performing 25% of routes plus a few from the middle performing 50% where there is duplicated service over a significant extent of the route. So what has happened is the parts of the county which are populated by people who don't like transit and therefore use it little or never are the parts of the county which are losing service.

Caveat votor. How is the maid going to get to your mansion?

If northwest KC were left with a rump Metro with higher taxes, you wouldn't have to shop in the city if you don't want to pay the city's higher rates. You wouldn't have to work there if you don't want your employer to pay employment taxes should they be enacted. In fact, I expect you don't do either of these things already.

A somewhat beefed up Sound Transit could handle the access to the city from outer areas and between suburban areas as it certainly does already.

Heck, I'm of the opinion that this sort of thing should go much farther. In fact, King County should be broken into three more politically homogeneous parts, northeast, east and south. The fricking county is larger than fourteen states (and maybe fifteen; New Mexico is estimated at 2.08 and KC at 2.07).

Anandakos

Posted Wed, Apr 23, 6:55 a.m. Inappropriate

It's time for metro to talk about switching to a mainline and feeder route system. The current design, mostly based on "single seat" rides where the user goes from point to point without a transfer is outdated in a metropolis of our size.

In a mainline and feeder model, mainline routes have very few stops (maybe 1 per mile, similar to light rail or BRT). Feeder routes circulate through neighborhoods stopping every few blocks and connecting with several intersecting feeder routes.

Such a design potentially allows the rider to take more or less the same optimal route he would take by car. It also allows busses to be used more efficiently - mainlines would be travelling longer distances but be filled by numerous feeders. Feeders travel short distances.

I don't know how well such a system would work in King County. Can Crosscut publish a study? Can Metro publish their data on this?

pragmatic

Posted Sat, Apr 26, 2:49 p.m. Inappropriate


This is coming when North Link reaches Northgate. Unfortunately, the Husky Stadium Station is too far east and located on already over capacity Montlake Boulevard to restructure northeast Seattle very much when U-Link opens. But some changes will be made at that time.

Seattle doesn't have enough through east-west arterials to make a true grid system like you're proposing work with just buses. It needs a high speed spine system which Link will provide to make it work.

Anandakos

Posted Wed, Apr 23, 8:04 a.m. Inappropriate

The voters, at least the few who bothered to actually vote and participate, said "NO".

Immediately King County politicians sais "oh my I cannot believe it!" or, worse, made threats "OK, then. Just you wait and see how bad it gets, we'll cut service for sure."

- No one has mentioned the apathy so pervasive that fewer than 40% of registered voters actually voted.
- None of the politicians mention that the real message from the voters who did vote is: Clean up your act. You waste too much money on unnecessary systems, unnecessaryadministration and you do not provide the service that we expect. We say no, in fact, we say hell no.

One can only hope that the few remaining voters continue to vote so wisely.

Posted Wed, Apr 23, 8:06 a.m. Inappropriate

I think the public is just sick of all the bungling. I voted pro-transit as usual but I've been disgusted with the management for years and I've continually told them so. Like everything else, who listens?

Posted Wed, Apr 23, 8:08 a.m. Inappropriate

kenkailing, yes, they do not listen. Instead they posture punishment through reductions in services instead of correcting the bungling.

Lack of leadership is the problem, not voters 'lack of understanding'.

Posted Wed, Apr 23, 8:40 a.m. Inappropriate

I am a car-less Seattle resident who depends on bus service for transportation outside my immediate neighborhood (Capitol Hill). Nevertheless, I voted "No" on this measure. While there were numerous reasons for doing so, 2 in particular stand out. One was disappointment and disillusionment with Metro following voter approval of an earlier (2007?) tax increase measure that was supposed to increase bus service (i.e., make bus trips more frequent per route) but which then never happened because Metro pulled a 'bait-and-switch' maneuver by purchasing overly-expensive hybrid buses instead. The other reason was the arrogance I've encountered from Metro staff when trying to get information about bus stop closures in my neighborhood which didn't seem to serve any practical need. (Route 43 heading east has seen 2 such closures over the last 6 months, without any apparent attempt to collect rider input on the desirability or impacts of such closures beforehand.) If Metro wants to disappoint and/or ignore the opinions of its ridership in such ways, it should not expect our enthusiastic support at the ballot box.

Posted Wed, Apr 23, 9:50 a.m. Inappropriate

Unfortunately, they do not care.

Posted Wed, Apr 23, 11:55 a.m. Inappropriate

This is the perfect example of what's "wrong" with Metro... You voted for increased tax revenues in 2007 which never materialized as the recession hit. LET ME REPEAT, Metro took in fewer tax dollars after that vote than before. The shiny buses you're complaining about weren't paid for with tax dollars, but with federal grants that could only be used on capital expenses and new service -- not for operations or maintenance. And your example of a problem is that they cut bus stops in order to try to run a more efficient system and cut costs, but that was inconvenient for you. And you wonder why Metro doesn't run the way you and others think it should?

Mickymse

Posted Wed, Apr 23, 1:05 p.m. Inappropriate

Metro should have cut service hours during the recession when ridership fell significantly. Instead, Metro used some short-term "fixes" to keep service hours up, when that number of service hours was not needed.

Metro operates many, many buses with nobody, or almost nobody on them. This is Metro's major problem. Operating empty or almost-empty buses is a pure waste of fuel, wear and tear on buses and streets, and tax dollars.

Metro also gives away millions of free boardings every month, many to people with above-average household incomes.

Cut the low-riderhips buses. Stop giving away millions of free rides every month. Raise the fares for everyone except low-income riders.

"Problems" completely solved.

Lincoln

Posted Sat, Apr 26, 2:44 p.m. Inappropriate

@Lincoln,

Those "many, many buses with nobody, or almost nobody on them" are being taken care of by the September cuts. Please feel free to celebrate.

Anandakos

Posted Wed, Apr 23, 8:46 a.m. Inappropriate

Several other aspects of this ballot issue caused me to vote NO although on most previous transportation issues I have voted yes. First is that I object to the tactic of putting multiple "goodies" in the basket to try to get diverse constituencies to support it, in this case, it was both transit and road improvements. Second, I think raising the sales tax even higher than it is adds to an awful regressive tax. (I would have voted "yes" if the tax was only on the car tabs.) Third, the advocates missed the chance to get renewal of the existing $20 car tab fee instead of going for a $60 fee. That would have had a reasonable chance of passage; the loss of that $20 fee is really going to make a difference!

naej

Posted Wed, Apr 23, 12:59 p.m. Inappropriate

Agreed. Their are other options, especially those that do not involve privitization. I beleive Metro did what it could to stay above water, but it was not enough.

They could still renew the $20 fee, and raise fares another 25 cents, raise the cost of corporate ORCA passes, and still discount fares for seniors and youths.

Raise the minimum wage to offset this, continue to pressure the State for funding, and definately consider floating a bond and one of the other things above if all else fails.

If not the above, Seattle needs to create it's own transit in-city, like Everett did. Metro can feed it from the rest of the county.

Marksp

Posted Wed, Apr 23, 10:06 a.m. Inappropriate

I applaud the defeat of this measure, even though I very reluctantly voted for it because of the importance of transit and road repairs.
Now maybe, at last, we can force real transportation improvements.

The reasons I congratulate the defeat:

1. The funding mechanism was absolutely wrong and non-progressive. At least part, of not most of the extra funding should come from those who benefit the most (which isn't the riders). It should come from impact fees on the developers and high-density employers whose developments force the need for transit while enlarging their pocketbooks.

2. No way should Metro's operating expenses be amongst the highest in the nation. They should be brought down to the average level of equivalent cities. That will require changes in management structure and union agreements.

As to those who say Metro should be privatized:

It wouldn't work - privatizing public transit, making it self-supporting, has never worked anywhere. It was tried a bit (and failed) in the 30's, 40's, and 50's when the auto companies were trying to shut down their competition. Transit is a public service fulfilling an essential public need. It can not be successfully privatized or made self-supporting any more than privatizing the military or the water/sewer systems.

elbegewa

Posted Wed, Apr 23, 11:14 a.m. Inappropriate

I don't necessarily agree with Eyman or other analysts of the vote. I get the need for public transit and take Metro when I can and have always supported transit measures up to now. But I am car-dependent because of work, kids and elderly parents. Lately I've become sick of ceding traffic lanes and right-of-way to the bikes and buses. Drivers are continually losing lanes of traffic for bike lanes, bus bulbs, curb extensions, parks and storm water drainage - even for a bus lane where no buses travel.

I feel as if a War on Cars has been declared and with Prop 1 they wanted me to pay for it, too? Sure, there were perks for improving roads but that usually means trees or less parking or improvements for everyone but the automobile driver. So clean up your own mess this time Metro. Increase fares, improve your routing, do some belt tightening or beg with Olympia but don't try to balance your budget on me this time.

fred117

Posted Wed, Apr 23, 1:09 p.m. Inappropriate

You got that exactly right. Everything Seattle does is an effort to force people out of cars. It is a "war on cars." However, everyone who is pushing this war will deny that it is even being waged. Hopefully, more and more people are waking up to this and will start resisting it.

Lincoln

Posted Wed, Apr 23, 1:29 p.m. Inappropriate

When the reality of climate change comes home to us here in the Northwest, folks will understand the need for alternative modes of travel and the imperative of using less fossil fuel. Unfortunately, by the time that happens, it will be too late. The human animal is not capable of the long range planning needed to recognize a danger that is not immediately in front of their faces. It's sad but true.

nwcitizen

Posted Wed, Apr 23, 5:34 p.m. Inappropriate

Metro buses use more fossil fuel per passenger mile than new cars do.

Lincoln

Posted Wed, Apr 23, 11:35 p.m. Inappropriate

Prove it. Cites/data. Because without reliable data on that, your statement just sounds stupid.

sarah90

Posted Thu, Apr 24, 10:03 a.m. Inappropriate

http://cta.ornl.gov/data/tedb32/Edition32_Full_Doc.pdf

Transportation Energy Data Book, Edition 32

Table 2.12 on page 2-14

Btu per passenger-mile:

cars: 3,364
buses: 4,240

And the figure for cars is for the average car in the entire U.S. fleet. New cars get much better mpg than the average car on the road.

Without any knowledge of the facts, you just sound stupid.

Lincoln

Posted Wed, Apr 23, 6:36 p.m. Inappropriate

Hear, Hear. Well stated.

Posted Wed, Apr 23, 2:29 p.m. Inappropriate

Well, it at least will be interesting to see what Metro actually comes up with to implement the cuts. Who knows? Maybe they'll come up with some brilliant strategy that will give the voting public a bit more confidence in their management skills. And I don't think the car tab thing is ever going to gain ground here.

Lily32

Posted Wed, Apr 23, 2:35 p.m. Inappropriate

Judging from many of the comments here, Crosscut readers have little sympathy with those who commute by bus--whether they do it out of financial necessity or because they think it's a greener way to go. It's hilarious to read that we should be unconcerned about the fate of bus riders if service is cut--"because they have the option to drive." It's informative that there are no overburdened buses, attested to by a Crosscut respondent who doesn't recall seeing a really full bus except at sporting events. It's bracing to realize that more riders can be accommodated if those who are already standing will just pack more tightly into the back of the bus. It's eye-opening to know that by altering routes so riders transfer more often, we'll have a more efficient system.

So much for Seattle empathy. Personally, I'd like to invite any single one of you...no, I CHALLENGE you...to rider the former 358 (now "E") bus, either south into downtown or northward...especially during peak hours. Try the 5...the 15/18...the 120...Make sure you arrange to get on after all the seats are taken, and to enhance your experience, take a bag of groceries, a package that you need to mail, or a child (stroller optional). Live a good long way from work? Say, you have to live in SeaTac or south West Seattle, or in the Rainier Valley? No problem--just transfer buses! If one transfer isn't enough, try TWO! It's pretty easy, really--you just add time to your day, and depending on the weather, minutes to large fractions of an hour waiting in the cold and wet! And, of course, if things get too inconvenient, remember that you can always drive--assuming that you have a car that runs--and pay outlandish parking rates for a vanishing number of affordable spaces, as the Emerald City clamps down on the use of automobiles. Oh, and let's speak up for the bicycle crowd here; you could also easily take that 3, 6, 12, 15-mile commute on two wheels--and with the proper carrier or a nifty trailer, you could tote all of those items we've discussed, too.

You see how this works? It's EASY--if you don't actually have to do it! It's EASY--if your own situation is such that you aren't limited to a single option, and have no real alternatives in order to hold down that $9.30 an hour job, or even your entry-level job of any kind. It's EASY if you don't have to dedicate two, three, or even more hours of each day to getting back and forth from work!

That's the ease with which Seattle is becoming a no-man's-land for the poor and the marginal, the elderly and a fair segment of the young, too.

Seneca

Posted Wed, Apr 23, 4:44 p.m. Inappropriate

What sympathy?

The comments actually agree with your problem: no matter how much money you hand over to them, decade after decade, they will never, ever, care about you or your problems.

Only if you demand better service, and the voters demand better value, then there is a chance for change.

Voters are not your enemy, the managers of King County & Metro are.

Posted Wed, Apr 23, 6:37 p.m. Inappropriate

Totally incorrect, Seneca. We have little sympathy for the administrators of Metro and Dow Constatine.

Posted Thu, Apr 24, 9:24 p.m. Inappropriate

Metro is the most over-rated transit of all big city systems I've used. Metro to me is an embarrassment and Sound Transit likewise, both far behind other city new light rail, streetcar, commuter-rail lines, plans, station design. Meh.

Seattler metro-ite wannabees think the people running Metro/Sound Transit/sdot/wsdot know what the hell they think they're doing.
Noone I know outside Seattle environs is all that impressed with Seattle transit.

STOP Bertha, WORST EVER of all incredibly bad f'd-up ideas ever devised. Yet Seattle again lets the worst engineers confidently tell them again, MORE money is needed to do their worst.

Wake the f' up! Metro, DOTs, their cohorts, all utterly incompetent.
Thank republican voters very much for kicking Metro ass.
I hope their liberalish friends' butts also hurt.

Wells

Posted Wed, Apr 23, 11:37 p.m. Inappropriate

Bravo!!!

sarah90

Posted Fri, Apr 25, 8:04 a.m. Inappropriate

Almost all the things you say in support of Metro are reasons I've said against it. You're absolutely right that if one looks realistically at the time and inconvenience it takes to get anywhere on Metro beyond to and from downtown at commute hours, Metro is a terrible option. Hours of travel punctuated with long waits for connections in mostly bad weather without shelter are just not possible for most people, and not palatable for most, either. Right now Metro appears to only be concerned with getting workers into and out of Seattle. Since that's the case, the employers ought to be subsidizing it instead of seeking a handout from the voters. I rode the "E" line for the first time a week ago. As you point out, that line is often packed. What I noticed was that the new buses have fewer seats but many, many straps for standees to hold, and juggle presumably with their groceries and anything else they need to carry. So much for it being a comfortable way to travel. Furthermore, during cold and flu season being packed, or even just traveling, in a bus is one way disease spreads readily. Hand washing won't help in this scenario. Metro chooses to serve only one segment of the population. Until it chooses to serve all of us, it can collect its money from those it serves and leave the rest of us alone. And yes, I've considered that it might have wanted the Prop. 1 dollars to serve me, and I've decided that's a laughable fantasy.

mspat

Posted Wed, Apr 23, 11:42 p.m. Inappropriate

So much Tea-Party-like paranoia and irrationality shown by the "No" commenters above -- very depressing. Is this King County, Washington, or King County, Texas?

sarah90

Posted Thu, Apr 24, 5:22 a.m. Inappropriate

Sarah90 captures the condesending arrogance of the YES campaign in a single sentence. It couldn't be that the majority of voters in this election turned out to be concerned about repeatedly funding METRO and KING COUNTY and not getting the promised results..it must be that they are all Tea-Partiers. You and the YES folks keep running with that parinoid, myopic view of everyone who opposes your tax propositions and hopefully you will never pass another one again. Maybe this is an example of why METRO and KING COUNTY cannot seem to reform themselves?

Cameron

Posted Thu, Apr 24, 8:10 a.m. Inappropriate

I guess I'm sooo naive that taxing gas a penny a gallon and letting it go to mass transit is just unthinkable. Yes the state constitution won't allow it, but really? Are our lawmakers so bought and sold that the obvious revenue source for these things isn't even talked about? Cars with one person in them, paying for gas, upkeep, insurance(!), and time (waiting for all the others cars with 1 person in them) ….How much $ is getting pissed away there? Taxing homeowners isn't right, and drivers aren't gonna tax themselves. The argument needs to change….

ernie

Posted Thu, Apr 24, 10:05 a.m. Inappropriate

Is it unthinkable to you that bus riders would pay the actual cost of their bus trips, without any tax subsidies?

Lincoln

Posted Thu, Apr 24, 3:59 p.m. Inappropriate

It is not unthinkable that fares will never and have never covered the costs of bus service in it's entirety, anywhere. It is infrastructure, and because you in particular may not use it or depend upon it, does not mean it is optional.

It is not unthinkable that another 25 cent raise in fares, or a floating a bond paid off by fares, or even a constititutional amendment to raise the gas tax a penny or two, another $20 tab fee (no sales tax increase), or bridging the gap money with a bond float paid off by fares to establish a seattle municipal transit, like Everett, would break this insane gridlock without trying to do the same things and expecting the same result.

Marksp

Posted Thu, Apr 24, 8:06 p.m. Inappropriate

A mere 50 cents per boarding fare increase (times 118 million boardings per year = $59 million per year) eliminates all the service cuts.

And that 50 cent per boarding fare increase would still mean fares would cover only a fraction of the OPERATING costs -- and none of the capital costs -- of bus trips.

Buses are vehicles, like cars and trucks, motorcycles, and airplanes. You think taxes should pay for cars, trucks, motorcycles and airplanes, too?

Why should people who pay for their own cars and their own gasoline for their own cars also pay for other peoples' buses? I pay for my own transportation. Bus riders should pay for their own transportation, also.

Lincoln

Posted Thu, Apr 24, 6:33 p.m. Inappropriate

do you know what I know and so far only a few here have faced..any time a reporter or more importantly a politician talks dollars THEY ARE LIEING OR DEFLECTING..high or low, gambler or banker the truth is in the percentages..so where are the percentages from metro??that's how you write a budget..oh, wait giving us those would inform us..not in the best interest of Crosscut..see the above..or Dow see the election..

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