It’s on: April 22nd countywide vote set for Metro, roads money

February 24, 2014 at 6:47 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 18 Comments

Acting as the board of the newly created Transportation District, King County Councilmembers have officially voted to call an April 22nd vote on Proposition 1 – a car-tab fee ($40 more than what is charged now, since $20 of it replaces an expiring $20 fee) and sales-tax increase (1/10th of a percent) to raise money to cover the rest of Metro‘s funding gap and the cost of road repair/projects. Read the full text of what they approved here; for all the numbers, go here. Here’s how a county news release sums up what the measure will do if approved by voters:

·Increase the King County sales tax by 0.1 of a percent for ten years;

·Establish a $60 vehicle fee;

·Distribute 60 percent of the net revenues of the ballot measure to provide funding to maintain Metro transit service hours at current levels. If any funds remain after maintaining transit service hours, evenly split the remaining funds 50/50 between transit and unincorporated road purposes;

·40 percent would go to cities for transportation improvements and the county for unincorporated area road purposes allocated based on population;

·Specify that the funds must be used for transportation improvement projects contained in the County’s, Cities’ or Puget Sound Regional Council’s approved transportation plans (as updated by the individual jurisdictions);

·Establish a low-income rebate program that rebates $20 of vehicle fee for vehicle owners whose household income is less than 45 percent of the county’s median household income.

Not registered to vote? Here’s how; see the deadlines for the April election here.

18 Comments

  1. I wonder how Seattle (or, Metro King County) compares to other transit systems of a comparable size. Do other transit systems repeatedly need taxpayer bailouts or are they financially self sustaining?

    .

    Someone must know how our system compares to others.

    Comment by West Seattle Hipster — 7:26 pm February 24, 2014 #

  2. No way! Tax burden she be taken by metro riders and potentially electric vehicle owners that pay no gas taxes.

    Comment by Ryan — 8:02 pm February 24, 2014 #

  3. No major transit system pays it’s own way in this country. Neither do automobile drivers. They are both heavily subsidized by general fund taxes.

    Comment by West Seattle Steve — 8:57 pm February 24, 2014 #

  4. No more taxes. Why should this burden be put on us. Let the rich people pay if anyone is taxed

    Comment by diddy — 8:58 pm February 24, 2014 #

  5. I’m in favor of the first 60% percent. I guess they think we will sign on to the rest of it to get the transit funding. I’m not sure of that. It all depends on the media blitz IMO.

    Comment by dsa — 9:10 pm February 24, 2014 #

  6. I am supportive of affordable transit options but would like to see some reforms in Metro before supporting higher taxes.

    Comment by John — 9:37 pm February 24, 2014 #

  7. I hope everyone reads the ballot carefully to catch the double negative they try to trick us with so their votes gets counted as intended. I think that’s how they got the tunnel approved.

    Comment by Sunny.206 — 10:00 pm February 24, 2014 #

  8. Actually, electric cars have an added $100 tab fee for not paying the gas tax. Also, I don’t think there are many electric vechiles that come from a single car home and I have 3 other cars so I’ll be paying more in fees. Not happy but it isn’t like my electric car is freeloading.
    .
    I ride Metro daily and until they raise peak fares significantly, I won’t vote for a tax increase. I use it, I should pay for it. It would cost me at least 2X as much to park in downtown so until fares get to $5 each way, most people will ride the bus. Non peak fares could remain at $2.25 so that people who need to get to other appointments can get there cheaper during the day. It keeps them off the peak commute and saves them money. A win-win for everybody.

    Comment by Eric1 — 12:22 am February 25, 2014 #

  9. I will promptly vote NO on this proposition.
    Because I am sick of bus riders ( with the exception of Eric above) whining about how car driver should pay more for the bus since it is saving wear and tear on the pavement, reducing the number of cars on the road and providing less fortunate a means to get to work…
    The idea that bus riders and WSB put forward that somehow car owners are not paying their share is ridiculous. Bus riders without cars should check these numbers out and quit crying about having to pay the real cost of the bus: car pmt = $200 mo + $150 insurance + $250 for gas + $100 wear and tear per month is average at $600 per month to own and operate an average car…
    How much do the bus riders pay per month?
    Perhaps we should tax bus riders I order to help pay for all the cost auto drivers accrue??? After all driving a car supports manyore industries than bus riding…

    Comment by Fritz — 5:51 am February 25, 2014 #

  10. For drivers that think bus riders should pay all the cost of transit consider this: Metro’s research has found that 90% of bus riders own a car, but chose not to drive it. So they will be paying the tab too. Also a full bus holds about 60 people, 90% of 60 is 54. So the next time your driving in congestion on either the WS bridge or 99 imagine every bus you see being replaced by 54 additional cars.

    Comment by Ted — 6:24 am February 25, 2014 #

  11. Eureka! Let’s scrap the tunnel and use that $9 billion savings to fund Metro fully through 3048! Viaduct 2029!

    Comment by SomeGuy — 7:00 am February 25, 2014 #

  12. I think Proposition 1 is a reasonable compromise. It doesn’t hit up the whole tax base any more than is necessary to maintain the current level of bus service. It goes out of its way to be about as progressively-funded as state law will allow. It includes an across-the-board fare increase for everyone who (by definition of not being “low-income”) can afford to pay more. It doesn’t increase the youth fare, but the kids are already paying more than seniors and riders with disabilities, and so will the low-income riders.
    .
    Trying to price more riders off peak buses will only make peak traffic congestion worse, so I think a moderate fare increase is the right path.
    .
    Making the low-income fare electronic-only should put a huge dent in change fumbling, which will yield a noticeable decrease in trip time for all riders, and end up enabling more peak runs on the most overcrowded peak routes.
    .
    And, of course, 40% goes to local transportation funding, so we can fix more potholes.

    Comment by Brent — 7:58 am February 25, 2014 #

  13. When I worked downtown I used the bus and water taxi. When I work on the east side I drive. From my perspective as a driver, every bus that passes counts as 20 to 40 cars that I do not have to compete with on the West Seattle Bridge and other roadways. Money well spent, in my opinion.

    As for proposals to dramatically increase transit fares, I recall seeing studies that show how much each additional 50 cents in fares will impact ridership. Current and future fare proposals reflect this research.

    Comment by onion — 9:07 am February 25, 2014 #

  14. Metro’s fare box percentage rate is in the 26-27% area. That puts it on the high end in comparison with other transit authorities around the country. Raising the fares too much could definitely affect ridership.

    Another note: the $60 tab fee really works out to only a $40 increase…a $20 fee is scheduled to drop off. That’s one of the reasons for the projected short fall.

    Comment by sb — 9:27 am February 25, 2014 #

  15. Well said John. Our household would love to ditch or 1 car overall (car ownership is so expensive!), and I definitely support mass transit, and love a city that knows how to do it correctly. I haven’t seen transit run well in Seattle since I’ve been here, and I have seen little to lead me to believe Metro will adequately make good decisions with the funds, as they have not done so in the past.

    Comment by K — 9:31 am February 25, 2014 #

  16. I suppose my main concern with the passage of this is that in a way it gives the state legislators that continue to fail to discuss transportation an out. I don’t feel like I’ve seen that addressed other than something like “It’s not the Seattle reps that are acting as road blocks”.

    Comment by Mat — 12:55 pm February 25, 2014 #

  17. It seems like they are finally looking at the whole picture and I’m happy to see a system in place for those on low income…what a concept! I also fully support the West Seattle Transportation Coalition. They have done so much work in looking everything over and being active in our community so I’m gonna go with them on this one.

    Comment by Kara — 1:48 pm February 25, 2014 #

  18. Sure wish taxpayers would demand more accountability before handing over more money- but it never seems to happen. Whether it’s Seattle Pubic Schools or Metro Transit-
    - if they ask- we will give & give & give….!

    Comment by Gene — 2:47 pm February 25, 2014 #

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