Transit initiative support
Backers of an initiative to preserve Metro Transit bus service in Seattle are moving into a higher gear. Keep Seattle Moving unveiled support from eight local legislators for proposed Initiative 118 today, which would preserve existing bus service in Seattle through a property tax increase of $0.22 per $1,000 of assessed value. The Seattle City Clerk has already accepted the ballot measure, which will be on the fall ballot if the campaign collects enough signatures.
Metro Transit has started work on cuts after voters' recent rejection of Proposition 1 to provide added revenues. According to Keep Seattle Moving, cutting the routes as planned would put another 23,000 cars on the road every day, worsening Seattle traffic. "This initiative will help keep Seattle moving while we craft a long-term solution in Olympia to fund and improve transit in our region,” said Rep. Jessyn Farrell of the 46th District. — H.W.
Healthy results for King County
The Harvard School of Government is honoring King County for its eight-year-old Healthy Incentives program that encourages employees to take better care of themselves. The program, which today received the Harvard 2013 Innnovations in Government award, has saved $46 million in health care costs and improved employee health, according to a county statement. The program allows participants to receive breaks on their insurance payments through exercising, eating better or stopping tobacco use.
"The smoking rate among employees dropped more than half," the county wrote in its statement, "from 12 percent to less than 5 percent, and participating employees combined for a total weight loss of 24 tons." — J.C.
Slowdown on Snohomish County moratorium
The Snohomish County Council will take at least two more weeks before deciding on any sort of building moratorium on land thought to be at risk of landslides. The county executive's office wants more time to examine other potential measures for dealing with risks, The Herald reports. Council Chair Dave Somers has suggested temporary controls as the county evaluates ways to avoid mudslide catastrophes like Oso's earlier this year. In King County, Executive Dow Constantine has ordered staff to look for federal funding to help with an update of the landslide hazards map, first developed in the 1990s. — J.C.
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