King County Executive nixes council's head-in-the-clouds bus plan

Reality. It's a pesky little bugger. Not to mention the reason Dow Constantine vetoed a plan that would have softened bus cuts.
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Dow Constantine

Reality. It's a pesky little bugger. Not to mention the reason Dow Constantine vetoed a plan that would have softened bus cuts.

King County Executive Dow Constantine squarely vetoed a proposal passed by the King County Council Monday that would have delayed impending cuts to King County Metro service. Constantine explained that he felt the proposal passed by the council was based on unrealistic expectations about budget.

“Everyone wants reliable bus transit,” he said in an interview Monday. “But someone has to be the adult and deal squarely with the challenges that face us.”

The council spent about an hour and a half of Monday's nearly four-hour meeting listening to testimony on and discussing proposals for ways to reduce bus service, before passing Item 9 on the agenda. Introduced by councilmember Rod Dembowski, Item 9 would have implemented a first round of bus route cuts in September 2014, but delayed three rounds of service cuts tentatively slated for February, June and September 2015.

“The ordinance passed today spends money we do not know will be available, spends one-time money on ongoing expenses and, [in] regards to amendment on Dial-a-Ride (DART) service, it violates the Transit Strategic Plan,” Constantine said in a statement Monday night. “I’m asking the council to try again for legislation that aligns our expenditures with our anticipated revenues.”

The council was also considering a counter proposal at Monday's meeting. In an interview, Constantine said he proposed a reduction of 550,000 hours of service in 2014 and 2015 to the council due to the revenue shortage that was result of Proposition 1 failing. That plan, he said, is in line with realistic budget expectations.

“When and if resources materialize, then I will be proposing the restoration of transit service that has been eliminated due to revenue shortfall,” Constantine said. “But it’s not appropriate now to promise the people something we do not know if we can deliver.”


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Jessica Buxbaum

Crosscut editorial intern Jessica Buxbaum recently moved to Seattle from California where she studied political science at Humboldt State University and worked on the university's newspaper and magazine.