Update: County executive, county council make Metro/fee deal

(UPDATED BELOW with details of the just-announced plan)
10:41 AM: County Executive Dow Constantine and County Council members are briefing the media downtown right now on what was billed as “a major development (regarding) transportation funding.) According to the politics website PubliCola, the word is that the council now has the “supermajority” needed to put a $20/year car-tab fee in place, without sending it to voters. This comes as a deadline loomed: After postponing a decision two weeks ago, the King County Council was scheduled to decide next Monday whether to put the proposed $20 car-tab “save Metro” fee on the ballot, just make it happen with a supermajority vote in their own ranks, or take some other action to close the Metro budget gap that had threatened huge service cuts. West Seattle’s County Councilmember Joe McDermott says via Facebook, “Pleased that my colleagues and I have come to an agreement to save Metro transit!” More to come. Our partners at the Seattle Times are updating their story here; when we get the full text of the announcement, we’ll add it here.

11:51 AM: The full announcement has just arrived from the county executive’s office, explaining the five points in the plan, including phasing out the ride-free zone and providing bus tickets to car-tab renewers:

King County Executive Dow Constantine today announced a supermajority of County Council support needed to enact a two-year $20 Congestion Reduction Charge and avert a 17 percent cut of Metro bus service starting in 2012. Nearly 1,500 County residents turned out to four public hearings in July to call for this action by the Council.

Constantine today thanked members of the Council – including Councilmembers Jane Hague and Kathy Lambert, who announced their support today based on a package of amendments that paves the way for councilmanic action at Monday’s Council meeting. Councilmembers Larry Phillips, Bob Ferguson, Larry Gossett, Joe McDermott, and Julia Patterson had previously stated their support.

“The people of King County voted with their feet, and they overwhelmingly turned out to tell us to save Metro Transit and keep bus service on the street. They have been heard,” said Executive Constantine. “This agreement creates value for drivers who pay the fee, and provides an incentive for them to give the bus a try. I want to thank these seven Councilmembers for stepping up. This is a collaborative approach that shows how government is supposed to work.”

“This bipartisan agreement addresses my primary concerns and offers real reform for Metro,” said Council Vice Chair Hague. “It’s critical that we keep people and businesses moving on the Eastside – especially during these tough economic times. This new package creates jobs and provides equity for the Eastside.”

“We’re working together in a bipartisan fashion, unlike those in Washington, DC,” said Councilmember Lambert. “People in these uncertain economic times need certainty that they have an alternative method such as buses to get to work. There are many systemic changes in the new package that will help meet the needs of efficiency, transparency, and providing transportation.”

“The people of King County spoke up in unprecedented numbers to tell us that transit is critical to their daily lives and the effects of deep service cuts would be devastating,” said Councilmember Larry Phillips, lead sponsor of the congestion reduction charge legislation and Chair of the Transportation, Economy, and Environment Committee. “Their message compelled us to come together and find creative solutions that allow us to broadly support enacting the temporary, emergency congestion reduction charge to save transit in King County.”

“This is an agreement that ensures a vital transportation link will remain strong as we work out a long-term financing solution,” said Council Chair Larry Gossett. “Those with the least, who depend on public transportation the most, can continue to use Metro to go about their everyday lives.”

The County Council is set to consider amendments to the proposed Congestion Reduction Charge at its next regular meeting on Monday, August 15. Under the proposed legislation, King County Metro Transit would:

· Develop a Transit Incentive Program to provide eight bus tickets worth up to $24 for each car tab renewal. People can use the tickets for rides to work, play or special sporting events. They may also choose to donate the value of those tickets to a pool of nearly 150 human service agencies to provide mobility for those in need.

· Phase out the downtown Seattle Ride Free Area in October 2012. The Council’s 2009 performance audit called for Metro to update its formula for collecting revenues in the Ride Free Area (RFA). When first established in 1973 as the “Magic Carpet Zone,” a city subsidy funded 100 percent of the fares Metro no longer collected in that area. Today the city of Seattle pays Metro $400,000 a year to support the RFA, which is about 18 percent of the $2.2 million annual cost for Metro to operate the RFA.

· Increase the pool of funds that provides sharply discounted bus tickets to human service and homeless programs. Metro now discounts tickets worth nearly $2 million annually. The tickets are currently sold to human service agencies at 20 cents on the dollar. Metro will either increase the current ticket allocation, or further increase the discount while giving the public the option of donating their tickets under the incentive plan to those in need. Metro will seek the advice of human service agencies in how to best help those in need.

· Implement right-sizing of service consistent with the Transit Strategic Plan. In communities where it makes sense, Metro will deploy lower-cost, more efficient Dial-a-Ride Transit service (DART), community access transportation services, Vanpools and vanshares, making service more efficient and responsive to our riders.

· Consider routes that carry more riders due to the effects of highway tolling as candidates for added services. This language in the proposed legislation is consistent with the principles to enhance Metro’s productivity developed by the Regional Transit Task Force and adopted in the County’s Transit Strategic Plan.

“As a regular bus commuter, I am thrilled that we have reached an agreement that will protect the transit service that workers and their families rely on every day. This agreement will keep our economy moving at the time we need it most,” said Councilmember Bob Ferguson. “I thank Executive Constantine and my colleagues for working to find common ground. On my way home tonight, I look forward to sharing the good news with my fellow riders on the #41 bus.”

“Today’s developments are the result of hours of public testimony, hundreds of messages and thousands of emails about the vital role Metro plays in the lives of King County residents,” said Councilmember Joe McDermott. “My colleagues and I will continue to work together to find long-term, sustainable funding for Metro to keep our region moving for years to come.”

“From our experience with past incentive programs, we know that people who become familiar with riding Metro are more inclined to ride the bus again. Using free tickets to shop, get to work or to a sporting event can save money and take one more car off the road,” said Council Budget Chair Julia Patterson. “More importantly, the vouchers could expose a whole new generation of riders to Metro bus service, and the option to donate unused vouchers to the poor is incredibly valuable in these difficult times.”

Under the state’s authorizing legislation, the Congestion Reduction Charge would take effect six months after the measure is signed into law.

“Today we are doing what it takes to keep buses on the streets, but this is only an interim measure,” said Executive Constantine. “This gives us time to work statewide on a permanent solution for funding transit and other critical transportation needs.”



The incentive program is intended to reach beyond the bus riders who already account for 108 million annual trips on Metro. Each King County resident renewing their car registration would receive a request form from Metro when they receive their new license tabs. To receive eight free-ride tickets, each car owner must fill out the form, which will also offer the option of donating the value of the tickets to a pool for distribution of bus tickets to support low-income residents who depend on transit to access services in their communities. The bus tickets will apply only to regular Metro Transit bus service and will not be transferable to other transit modes. Past experience with other incentive programs has shown that people who try riding Metro are more inclined to ride the bus again.


In downtown Seattle about 9,000 free bus rides are taken every day between Jackson and Battery Streets and in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel. The service was initially launched to help spur retail development in the downtown business core.

According to Metro studies, about half of all riders traveling in the RFA carry a pre-paid bus pass. Another 18 percent have paid for their trip and are making transfers in the RFA. About one-third are making trips as unpaid riders.

Among the benefits riders will see from the phasing-out of the RFA:

Riders will pay as they board, rather than paying as they exit after leaving the RFA– a policy many customers found confusing.

A “pay as you enter” fare system will reduce fare evasion on outbound trips, reduce fare disputes between drivers and passengers.

On trips leaving downtown, riders would be able to use all doors to exit and, especially on a crowded bus, would no longer have to work their way up the aisle to the front of the bus to exit.

Before the change, Metro will reach out to travel and convention groups to discuss how best to accommodate visitors who want to use Metro buses during their stays in downtown Seattle.

Metro will work with human service agencies to determine how their clients might be impacted by the change. Currently Metro contributes nearly $2 million worth of discounted tickets annually to charities and other human services groups. These tickets help clients get to job training, shelters and medical appointments.


Recognizing that one type of transit service may not meet the needs of all communities, Metro will explore a variety of alternatives for “right-sizing” services. These alternatives are called for in the new Transit Strategic Plan, and provide promising new tools to help maintain transit services for communities that do not have high ridership due to their rural character. Under right-sizing no community currently served by Metro would be left without transit travel options.

To offset service reductions or eliminations on routes that are less productive, Metro will identify a menu of “right-sized” transit services that can effectively replace up to 20,000 hours of traditional fixed-route bus service by June 2012. These more cost-effective services could include alternatives such as Dial-a-Ride Transit (DART) service, community access transportation, vanpoool or volunteer transportation programs and would benefit communities in east and south King County that are adjacent to rural areas.

Over the next year, Metro will reach out to community organizations and groups to explore partnerships for creating these various lower-cost services, and invite residents to help shape these right-sizing strategies.

63 Replies to "Update: County executive, county council make Metro/fee deal"

  • Dale August 12, 2011 (11:01 am)

    I think this is a reasonable outcome. Although I don’t use Metro regularly there are times I would be inconvenienced if this service is curtailed. Good Job!

  • westie August 12, 2011 (11:04 am)


  • george August 12, 2011 (11:11 am)

    No, the taxpayers are being forced to save Metro. Metro can’t save itself so it needs a(nother) lifeline. Time for some tough love instead.

  • Gene August 12, 2011 (11:14 am)

    $20/year is a small price to pay for avoiding ADDITIONAL cuts to service. We already subsidize roads/cars/etc. enough.

  • old timer August 12, 2011 (11:18 am)

    Great news for those most dependent on Metro.
    As to the rest of us, it’s less than 1/2 gallon of gasoline a month in cost – well worth it to have a functioning transit alternative.
    Glad the adults in the King County Council came home.

  • Colleen August 12, 2011 (11:23 am)

    I am more curious to see now what the Seattle City Council proposes for the ballot for their own car tab fees. I don’t see their 80 dollar pipe dream passing now.

  • westseattledood August 12, 2011 (11:34 am)

    Good call, Big Deciders.

  • One More Opinion August 12, 2011 (11:51 am)

    Now THAT’S what I’m talking about…decisiveness (well…kind of). Now let’s move on, shall we?

  • Katie August 12, 2011 (12:55 pm)

    Not to mention less congestion! If my bus was cut I would be driving in to work.

  • WestSeattle Commuter August 12, 2011 (12:56 pm)

    This is not about bus service, it is about traffic congestion. I will be the first to pay the $20.00 to keep the West Seattle Bridge from turning into a parking lot with cars. Btw I am a car commuter.

  • Kris August 12, 2011 (1:07 pm)

    Doing away with the ride free zone is a BIG bonus in this whole thing. It will make it pay as you enter at all times in the downtown area. Most people that work downtown have Orca cards. They can tap as they board and not have to pay when they leave which will save time. Officers can monitor the downtown area more at stops. Less fare evaders will not only increase dollars but cut down on a lot of violence on the busses. Fare disputes cause a lot of anguish for the drivers. Even when they don’t “push the issue” I have seen drivers get spit on, slapped, yelled at, etc. In general $20 is a small price to pay for the benefits in the end if you really think about it.

  • ummm August 12, 2011 (1:10 pm)

    Thank goodness. I was really starting to worry that with the cuts I wouldn’t be able to use Metro anymore, and it is my ONLY form of transportation. I would much rather pay an extra $20 on our one car than have to buy another, plus insurance, gas, and upkeep. That isn’t even an option for my family.

  • mtnpeak August 12, 2011 (1:10 pm)

    Thank you King County Council!

  • Brian August 12, 2011 (1:12 pm)

    “eight bus tickets worth up to $24 for each car tab renewal….They may also choose to donate the value of those tickets to a pool of nearly 150 human service agencies”

    So in reality this isn’t to prevent Metro bus cuts, this is really either a transfer payment or a mandatory bus ride program.

    I’m fine with removing the RFA, but only if it improves service. I suspect it will just take buses longer to get out of downtown and cause more congestion as people drive or take taxis. Not only that, I doubt it will improve fare payments nor will it reduce costs.

    Just a big piece of fail on the part of our county.

  • Jiggers August 12, 2011 (1:42 pm)

    Just imagins all the thousands of bus riders getting into their cars every morning to work with you. Get the picture?

  • breezygirl August 12, 2011 (2:15 pm)

    Yay!! Way to make the call! $20 is more then reasonable!!

  • mightymo August 12, 2011 (2:20 pm)

    Brian, while I think that part of the plan is a bit odd, I think the way to think of it is that either you get your money back (the amount you pay for the fee comes back to you in bus fare form) or you can choose to transfer the payment to a group that could use it more than you.
    $24 worth of bus tickets isn’t going to last you a year. With fares as they are, that’s about eleven peak-hour commutes. I think the goal is to give you a taste of the convenience (or the inconvenience) of bus riding.

  • JanS August 12, 2011 (2:21 pm)

    20 bucks..4 lattes, 4 microbrews..a burger at Spring Hill. Perspective. They are not asking for you to pay 20 bucks a month. It’s per year folks. Come on.

  • Forest August 12, 2011 (2:29 pm)

    Call me full of crap, but I predict the legislation will include a loophole that means increasing, rather than cutting or freezing, current taxpayer subsidies of the low ridership South Lake Union streetcar

  • JoAnne August 12, 2011 (3:04 pm)

    Why it’s amazing! The KC Council has found a way to continue its runaway spending by dumping the inevitable budget problems on the backs of workers.

    How did they ever find the courage and ingenuity to think of such a brilliant solution?

    What a relief that we can still keep the watertaxi and the dozens of buses running around late at night with no one on them!

  • Dunno August 12, 2011 (3:16 pm)

    Why not give us 10 single ride bus passes when we buy our tabs? May not get used, but would encourage bus ridership.

  • JoAnne August 12, 2011 (3:31 pm)

    Constantine and his Democrat cronies deliberately exploited the throngs of people receiving transportation subsidies who showed up at hearings to demand that their subsidies be continued, even if the county is broke.

    It is just crazy-making for Constantine to say the county “voted with its feet.” That is the opposite of what happened! The county held meetings in order to publicly air one side of the issue, and they did this to fabricate support for the increased car tab fees without having an actual, real vote on the subject!

  • ATM August 12, 2011 (3:37 pm)

    If everyone benefits from a subsidized government service, the equitable solution is for everyone to pay for it in the form of a general sales tax increase.

  • Diane August 12, 2011 (3:42 pm)

    do NOT like taking away free rides in downtown; “Ride Free” area in Seattle is huge asset for tourism, local business, and local citizens; I love all the other amendments to the agreement, but taking away downtown Seattle’s ride free area is a terrible idea
    it is not true that most employees downtown have an orca pass; most who do are in higher paying jobs working for employers that provide free or subsidized bus passes; most low income workers downtown have to pay for their own bus passes, or pay daily fares
    “According to Metro studies, about half of all riders traveling in the RFA carry a pre-paid bus pass. Another 18 percent have paid for their trip and are making transfers in the RFA.”
    I would like to see the Metro stats on how many riders with Orca cards had to pay for their own pass, and how many receive their bus pass as an employee benefit, and their corresponding salary ranges; and the stats for how many riders who make less than Seattle’s average living wage have to pay for their own bus pass

  • Diane August 12, 2011 (3:45 pm)

    “eight bus tickets worth up to $24” equals 4 round trips for a low income worker to get to work and back

  • metrognome August 12, 2011 (3:47 pm)

    ummm … Forest … the South Lake Union Streetcar is a CITY project not a COUNTY project. Metro merely operates the SLUS under contract. So, I guess that makes you …

  • jedifarfy August 12, 2011 (3:52 pm)

    The SLUT (ok, streetcar, whatever) does have a good ridership. I just did a temp job where the trolley goes, and there were always at least a dozen people on there. During rush hour, it was completely packed (mostly Amazonians, but still). The real issue is getting one without paying. The many times I took the trolley, no one asked for my transfer or proof I paid. Since they don’t use the ORCA system yet, I had no proof even though I had just come from a bus with a valid, electronic transfer.

    I’m very, very happy this passed. So many West Seattle buses were on the chopping block. Now I can have time to save for a decent car for when this happens again!

  • godofthebasement August 12, 2011 (3:53 pm)

    Really, JoAnne? How did they force pro-tansit people to show up? Round them up at gunpoint or something? Force them to write letters in favor of this to the council? How did they prevent anti-transit peopel from showing up? Lock them up until the meeting was over? How did they prevent anti-transit peopel from writing in with their views? Break their hands to they couldn’t email the council?

    The overwhelming response they got was in favor or this because an overwhelming number of people in King County are for this. An overwhelming number of people are for this because they realize a strong transit system is vital to our economy.

  • Mike August 12, 2011 (5:09 pm)

    Why don’t the raise the bus fairs- user fees? Always going after the cars. We are already paying 61.9 cents per gallon of tax that is suppose to go to Metro, roads and other infrastructure. Enough taxes- I mean revenues!!!

  • JayDee August 12, 2011 (5:27 pm)

    I am just glad that our elected representatives had the courage to make a decision yea or nea. That is why we elected them. Our public initiative process is broken (Witness the anti-pro-or-neapolitan flavor referendum vote for evidence). Punting to a public vote is stupid.

    If you don’t like the decision, don’t vote for those who did. And vice versa (unless you are Kemper Freeman…)

    Now I can see where Tim Eyman will come up with fodder for his next income-producing initiative (much easier than selling jewelery to high schoolers).

  • JoAnne August 12, 2011 (5:33 pm)

    Godofthebasement, As I pointed out, the “pro-transit” people showed up because they are being heavily subsidized (i.e., getting free stuff, paid for by others), and Metro was threatening to cut their subsidy. Thus the obvious motivation for folks on that “side” of the issue to “show up and be heard.” The other “side,” i.e., the people paying for all this, are busy working and don’t have time for such shenanigans!

    Also, if an “overwhelming number of people” in the county supported this effort, then why did the council need all those heavily publicized meetings instead of just putting the issue on the ballot? That also should be obvious: they knew full well it would never have passed. The meetings were dog-and-pony shows held to give the appearance of popular support for raising a tax.

    Just another political stunt aimed at taking money from working people and redistributing it to big-spending Democrats and their constituency of moochers.

  • Moose2 August 12, 2011 (5:57 pm)

    Excellent news… a small price to pay to keep traffic moving on the highways and maintain an alternative to single-occupant vehicle commuting. I am very impressed that the council could make a decision (which no doubt will be unpopular with some segments – check out JoAnn’s comments, which lack logic) and stick to it.

    Not sure about removing the RFA though. I am sure it’ll have reduce fare evasion, but it makes the city even less visitor friendly: they need to make orca cards available for free, like many other cities (e.g. London, Amsterdam). There is no need to charge people $5 for a card.


  • godofthebasement August 12, 2011 (7:03 pm)

    So JoAnne, bus riders don’t have jobs and that’s why they’re pro-transit? That’s your argument? How does that make any sense? Working people are all against this and are too busy to speak their minds? How long does it take to email or call the county council? Well publicized public meeting where anyone can speak their mind are a “dog and pony show?” Not a single word of what you’ve written here makes a bit of sense.

  • JoAnne August 12, 2011 (7:55 pm)

    Dear Moose,
    Here’s a little something that might help you understand the logic:


    Yours ever,

  • JoAnne August 12, 2011 (8:07 pm)

    Basement guy, I said they were freeloaders, not that they don’t have jobs. Yes, most working people are against the tab increase, which as I already explained, is why the county didn’t want the issue on the ballot.

  • metrognome August 12, 2011 (9:00 pm)

    Mike — you need to do a fact check — state gas tax does NOT go to Metro; per the state constitution, it goes to highways and roads.
    JoAnne — Ennis is a right-wing hatchet man who is intent on destroying public transportation; his reports are full of distortions and inaccuracies. It is unfortunate the Times relied on his schlock as the basis for their editorial against the $20 congestion reduction fee. If you want a true conservative’s opinion on public transportation, go to the American Public Transportation Ass’n website and search for publications by Paul Weyrich, a noted conservative who makes a strong case for public transportation.

  • E August 12, 2011 (9:32 pm)

    Since so many seem to be for this, why not make it a voluntary donation when you get your tabs? A check box – do you want to make $20 or more donation to Metro. I wouldn’t do it, but if others are so concerned they are welcome to donate as much as they want. Why is there never any discussion of how to streamline and contain costs, rather than adding fees anywhere possible?

  • Jill August 12, 2011 (10:02 pm)

    JoAnne, Blah blah blah, troll, blah blah blah.

  • G August 12, 2011 (11:51 pm)

    Gosh, I’m sure glad we have those noble defenders of the “public good” out there to remind us that $20 is an insignificant sum of money.

  • dawsonct August 13, 2011 (3:05 am)

    Okay all you whiney little babies who don’t like getting nickle-and-dimed to death for our VITAL public commons, call your representatives and DEMAND they start taxing our Nation’s super-wealthy, and corporations who happily use the US as their home base (a LOT of tax-subsidized benefits to that), but off-shore all the jobs and the vast majority of their profits, and then We the People will have the money to pay for our schools and libraries, our roads, bridges, transportation systems, and other infrastructure, without having to pay a toll here and a fee there on TOP of the taxes we are already paying (BTW, unless you are REALLY among the hyper-wealthy, your taxes haven’t really dropped since Saint Ronnie ascended his throne, but your earnings and purchasing power sure have).

    Our Nation was never intended to address all the needs of all her citizens all the time. Not everything our government does will immediately or obviously benefit you; get over yourselves, this isn’t the United States of YOU.
    Nice sense of civic responsibility. Why don’t you all grab your guns and go move to some Idaho hillbilly compound, where you don’t have to worry about those bothersome gubmint services. Stay off our roads.

  • JoB August 13, 2011 (7:14 am)

    $20/year is such a small investment for such a large gain

  • Bus rider August 13, 2011 (8:35 am)

    I am just thrilled they worked together and made a decision. I’d pay an extra $20 for that any day. Congress, Seattle City Council please take note.

  • JoAnne August 13, 2011 (9:39 am)

    Well Jill, I am not a paid hack of the county government posing as a citizen on the community blog to talk up their tax increases and reckless, inefficient spending. You?

  • JoAnne August 13, 2011 (10:08 am)

    There is nothing “selfish” about not giving metro MORE of our paychecks. They get PLENTY already and don’t spend it wisely. Sorry last time I checked this was a free country, meaning you are not entitled to other people’s property.

  • Tim August 13, 2011 (10:34 am)

    What people fail to realize is that this is actually corporate welfare on behalf of us citizens. A lot of the people riding public transportation are doing so to and from work. If these companies paid them a decent wage that would cover the true cost of a metro ride, whatever that may be, then this argument wouldn’t be happening and you could use the existing tax revenue metro collects to subsidize REAL low income riders. We need to stop subsidizing private companies. That is a true old school principal I think we can all get behind. And if you look around and really think about it, it is happening everywhere. Just look in your mailbox everyday and see the discounted mail rates PRIVATE companies get on the backs of the tax payers. It’s getting harder to be a liberal in this town with all this nonsense.


  • Marge August 13, 2011 (10:45 am)

    I’m glad it passed. I could not imagine that many more cars on the road. When I do take the bus (54) it’s packed and it’s only going to get worst when the Viaduct comes down. I don’t understand the haters. I pay for lots of things I don’t use, schools being one of them. (btw I mostly commute by bicycle)

  • G August 13, 2011 (11:10 am)

    For those who are lecturing us and others on our lack of “civic responsibility:” are you paying my bills, do you know what my financial obligations are and that the accumulations of fees, taxes and the cost of living is driving some out of W. Seattle? When do you draw the line?

    I believe in the free market system dictating where one can afford to live – including myself – but don’t pretend that Seattle is still a blue-collar working city by throwing a few bones to poor people who can’t afford cars; you’re just prolonging their inevitable exodus.

  • dawsonct August 13, 2011 (1:03 pm)

    For the dense, the gyst of my comment was “yes, we in the middle- and under-classes ARE getting taxed to death, all so we can continue to funnel OUR Nation’s wealth into the pockets of an extraordinarily tiny, powerful minority.” Feel like you’re being squeezed? Then contact your elected representatives and DEMAND the ones that have the most money start paying their fair share of the cost of running this country.
    Your battle isn’t with the people closest to you in income. Wake up.

    As Marge said, we ALL pay for things we don’t get DIRRECT benefit from, but if you REALLY think our Nation would be a better place without public schools, even if you have never had children (or never attended one yourself), or public transportation, even if you never ride a bus (you breath, don’t you?), then you are TRULY deluded.
    Also, if you DON’T think we already support the single-occupancy vehicle system with our tax dollars, then you are something OTHER than deluded, you are an ignoramous.

  • MP August 13, 2011 (3:13 pm)

    Dow, you are an idiot! Let’s just keep taxing the hell out of all of us instead of cutting spending. Why don’t you make all the bikers on the road register and pay tabs for their bikes? Yes, last time I looked, every bus has a bike rack on it. I don’t ride the bus because it doesn’t work with my work schedule yet I have to pay for it because you stupid politicians can’t figure anything out! I sure hope as seats come up for reelection that republicans will take over!

  • OP August 13, 2011 (3:44 pm)

    Why the HELL should I pay for a service I don’t use????

  • metrognome August 13, 2011 (4:50 pm)

    OP — see post from dawsonct that’s two above yours. If that doesn’t answer your question, make a list of all the publicly funded services you use and post it out here so I will know what to vote against next time.
    If nothing else, you and MP and the others against this fee benefit from all the cars that are not on the road in front of you because their drivers are taking Metro.
    G — the ‘free market system’ has nothing to do with where you live; if it did, you would be driving on toll roads built by private companies which will charge whatever they can to maximize their profits. And you would be charged ‘per flush’ unless you can figure out how to hold it, and you would pay an ‘electricty access fee’ everytime you turned on a light … plus a per watt fee, rounded up to the next megawatt.

  • Jiggers August 13, 2011 (4:51 pm)

    Complaining here on the blog won’t do anyone any good.

  • JN August 13, 2011 (6:44 pm)

    @OP, I agree, people shouldn’t pay for what they don’t use. I ride my bicycle every day, don’t own a car, and I don’t think that my property taxes and sales taxes should go towards repairing the damage that motorists and their gas-guzzling, multi-ton vehicles inflict on our roadways. Bicycle lanes cost on average $30,000 per mile to build, while highways/interstates(motor vehicles only) cost on average $20 million per mile. I say we tax cyclists for bicycle lanes and motorists for their freeways. Only fair, right, since you only want to pay for what you use?

  • G August 13, 2011 (7:33 pm)

    Many pro-transit supporters are pulling out the argument absurdum, i.e if you’re against this $20 tax, you’re against ALL public transit, and probably against supporting fireman who pull children out of fires. This is a favorite tactic of those trying to bully something through the process; it is disingenous and it is wrong.

    Many of us love public transportation; but it is perfectly reasonable to question a tax when there are other ways to maintain service. I simply believe we haven’t exhausted them. I believe a good part of this is simply a jobs program to keep bus drivers employed.

  • JoAnne August 13, 2011 (8:16 pm)

    It might do good. At least it gets some of these ideas out under the light of day so that they can be examined for what they are. Sunshine is the best disinfectant.

  • JN August 13, 2011 (9:16 pm)

    Sunshine is a good disinfectant, until you start talking about the damage personal vehicles inflict on society and the environment. Then you just shut it away forever…

  • kbooms August 13, 2011 (11:10 pm)

    You don’t have to directly use a service to derive benefit from it. More people on buses = fewer drivers on the road, benefiting drivers AND cyclists alike. Increased use of public transportation is also better for the environment, which benefits everyone irregardless their preferred method of transportation. Stop trying to paint things so black & white, folks.

  • JoAnne August 14, 2011 (7:22 am)

    King County and its propaganda machine are the bullies here. If they wanted a fair process, they would have put the issue in front of voters.

    Transit has already been voted funding twice. What they have now should be more than sufficient.

    There is no such thing as enough money for these reckless spenders. They won’t stop until the last Grandma in the county is taxed out of her home.

  • dawsonct August 14, 2011 (8:51 am)

    Joanne, we DO put issues in front of the voters, it is called representative democracy. We elect people to represent us and make decisions and choices that are (hopefully) good for the community. Don’t like their decisions? Work to remove those people from office. Don’t like the way a decision is going? Go to the city/county council meetings and voice an opinion, call your representative and voice your opinion, go to your local political party meetings and talk. You WILL be heard AND listenend to, and if your arguments are well thought out and valid, something you haven’t demonstrated an ability to do on THIS forum, then your opinion will have an affect.
    DIRECT democracy, as practiced with the initiative process we have in our state,is rife with poorly written legislation which usually doesn’t pass the legal litmus test, and really only serves to enrich a certain segment of our population.
    Don’t like the way we do things in our Nation? Then work to amend the Constitution. Good luck with that, we couldn’t even ammend the Constitution to give women equal rights in our country, so go sit in the back of the bus, toots.

    BTW, if you actually read the article, you would see that the fee passed with a wide enough margin of support on the council, that it didn’t HAVE to be put up for a vote.
    Bitch and moan all you want, but if your involvement in politics begins and ends on election day, you get what you deserve.

  • WSTroll August 14, 2011 (9:34 am)

    Everyone should buy there own busses. It would be sweet. Make ALL of the lanes ‘bus only’. Everyone could just stop in the middle of the street or in intersections whenever they wanted.

  • datamuse August 14, 2011 (3:55 pm)

    If the last grandma in the county is taxed out of her home, who’s going to ride the buses? Hyperbole does not help your case.

  • JoAnne August 15, 2011 (4:54 pm)

    @datamuse This is NOT hyperbole. People ARE getting taxed out of their homes, and it is mostly seniors on fixed income.

    dawsonct–You are REALLY confused about representative democracy. When an elected official goes directly against the known preference of the voters (who overwhelming passed $30 car tab fees, for example), that is NOT an example of “representative” democracy. It is more accurately described as betrayal!

    Furthermore, it is completely dishonest to paint those opposing this increase as being “against” transit somehow. Metro has been extremely wasteful and reckless with the money they are already getting.

    Taxpayers just want to see some fiscal restraint and prioritizing for a change.

Sorry, comment time is over.