Election 2014: Transit taxes passing – what will your money buy?

(WSB photos by Torin Record-Sand)
West Seattle Metro riders will get more buses with the money from Transportation Benefit District Prop 1, which got 59 percent of the first round of the November 4th vote. That’s according to the “framework of an agreement on transit funding and service delivery between Seattle and King County,” as distributed at today’s post-election briefing downtown, with city and county leaders including Mayor Ed Murray, County Executive Dow Constantine, and City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, plus local transit advocates. We recorded it all on video (added, 3:05 pm):

Here are the West Seattle highlights, as promised in a 2-page doc distributed today (see it here):

*A list of “neighborhoods that will get more buses” includes Admiral, Alaska Junction, Alki, Arbor Heights, Delridge, Fauntleroy, Gatewood, Morgan Junction, Pigeon Point, Roxhill, Westwood Village

*”More buses on … chronically overcrowded routes” including RapidRide C Line, starting next June

*”Revised schedules on … chronically unreliable” routes including RapidRide C Line, 21X, 21, 37, 55, 56, also to start next June

*”Better frequency with more trips per hour on at least 28 high-demand routes” including RapidRide C Line and 125; this is to be “phased in between June and September 2015”

Also promised: An “expanded network of frequent transit,” defined as every 15 minutes or better.

So how will you be sure you’re getting something for your money? Another handout sheet (see it here) promises:

The agreement will:

-Require robust ridership and performance data reporting by Metro
-Allow for regular financial reviews and independent third-party audits of Metro finances and performance data
-Reduce city responsibility for county administrative overhead
-Credit Seattle for higher farebox revenue roduced on city trolleybus routes
-Pay only the annual share of new buses required for increased service
-Protect against supplanting

Constantine reiterated at today’s event that the extra funding is only a “bridge” until the Legislature fixes transportation funding someday.

Transit advocates who were there included West Seattleite Marci Carpenter:

(By the way, we learned today that Carpenter is now the president of the National Federation of the Blind-Washington – congratulations!)

P.S. In case you forgot the details of Proposition 1, here’s the heart of it, from the ballot:

To fund transit service in Seattle, the Seattle Transportation Benefit District seeks voter approval to impose an annual vehicle-license fee up to an additional $60 per vehicle, with a $20 rebate for low-income individuals, and an additional sales-and-use tax of no more than 0.1%. Each would expire no later than December 31, 2020. Combined, they would raise approximately $45,000,000 annually.

After administrative costs, including the rebate program, revenue will be used to fund: (1) Metro Transit service hours on routes with more than 80% of their stops within Seattle, with funding first being used to preserve existing routes and prevent Metro’s proposed service cuts and restructures scheduled to start in February 2015; (2) up to $3,000,000 annually, to support regional transit service on bus routes that enter or terminate service within the City of Seattle; and (3) up to $2,000,000 annually, to improve and to support access to transit service for low-income transit riders.

Any remaining revenues may be used to address overcrowding, reliability, and service frequency within the City of Seattle. Revenues will not supplant other funding for any routes partially or completely operating within Seattle that Metro would otherwise provide in accordance with the adopted Metro Transit Service Guidelines. More about this proposal can be found at: http://www.seattle.gov/stbd/documents/resolution_12_s.pdf

36 Replies to "Election 2014: Transit taxes passing - what will your money buy?"

  • Twobottles November 5, 2014 (2:19 pm)

    So maybe once again we’ll be able to go from north admiral to downtown without a transfer?

  • Diane November 5, 2014 (2:51 pm)

    congratulations Marci; that’s fantastic

  • Diane November 5, 2014 (3:57 pm)

    yes Twobottles; and walk to the bus stop at Admiral viewpoint to take one bus downtown and back any time of day/night, like we had until 2 yrs ago; that would be wonderful; please make this happen asap

  • LBJ November 5, 2014 (4:34 pm)

    Maybe we’ll get a bus on Sunday at South Seattle College?

  • West Seattle since 1979 November 5, 2014 (5:08 pm)

    This sounds really promising. Also I noticed that they’ll be getting reviewed and also third-party audits, which is good.

  • Mela November 5, 2014 (5:10 pm)

    great that they look at the 37 and 56 for reliability, but I could not find any Buses added to Alki on the Map??

  • brandon November 5, 2014 (5:28 pm)

    yes. Let’s throw more money at them to waste. couldn’t we at least hold them accountable for the money we’ve already sent them? Or just let them keep crying wolf enough times to milk more from us?

  • Twobottles November 5, 2014 (5:35 pm)

    I’d love to see the 55 & 56 restored to all day/every day, but I’d be happy with one or the other

  • LAintheJunction November 5, 2014 (5:58 pm)

    This is great news. Thank you thoughtful voters of Seattle!

  • transit rider November 5, 2014 (6:23 pm)

    My bus is over-crowded because it is a shorter bus instead of an articulated bus.

  • WS November 5, 2014 (6:32 pm)

    The June/September phase in period is not necessary since school is out and traffic volume is lighter.

    • WSB November 5, 2014 (6:35 pm)

      I suspect June-September phase-in refers to the two “service change” periods Metro always has in those months.

  • John M November 5, 2014 (7:06 pm)

    So how does route 125 go from a low performing route to a high demand route overnight? I also would like to see additional options from White center that they used to have (54,22,136,113,120, which now is just the 120 and a couple 113).

  • jwright November 5, 2014 (7:44 pm)

    brandon, How about specifics instead of hyperbole? Best I can recall, Metro’s financial metrics are consistent with other big-city transit agencies. Your point of view would be more compelling and seem less like that of an anti-everything grump if you raised some specific concerns.

  • brandon November 5, 2014 (9:26 pm)

    Did you miss the memo about the drastic reductions and cutbacks in service hours, the sky is falling, (Seattle Times, April 24th, 2014: “First cuts to Metro Transit spread all over Seattle area”. And April 13th, 2014 “Apr 13, 2014 … THE campaign for King County Proposition 1 says 600,000 hours of Metro bus service would be cut if voters don’t approve the measure.” But oh, on Sept. 29th 2014,The Meropolitan King County Council: “Noting improved sales-tax revenue, the King County Council has canceled plans for more bus-service cuts, despite months of warnings that severe cuts were inevitable.” Challenge Accepted.

  • Charlie November 5, 2014 (9:41 pm)

    John M, White Center is not in Seattle and therefore not affected by the vote for increased transit.

    • WSB November 5, 2014 (10:21 pm)

      Just a clarification on that – if you see the last few paragraphs, the ballot language, there will be some improvements that affect some people outside the city. The criteria included a route having 80 percent of its stops in city limit. I’ve linked both documents with the full list of routes mentioned by city leaders so far; the plan isn’t finalized yet, and there’s still following-up to be done about exactly when there will be a public plan, will there be a hearing, who will vote on it, sign off on it, etc. … stand by for more.

  • JJ November 5, 2014 (9:45 pm)

    Wow I don’t see any improvements to the 120 listed here. This line is seriously overcrowded during commuting hours, often leaving dozens of riders unable to get on at last several stops before the bridge and final downtown stop on return. Not to mention also often leaving wheelchairs riders unable to get on bus, this is just not okay :(

  • transit rider November 5, 2014 (10:26 pm)

    If I had known that my tax dollars would be used to purchase Metro service outside the city limits, I would have voted NO.

  • cj November 5, 2014 (10:49 pm)

    I would love to see a letter bus like the C line that goes to the north area of West Seattle. Maybe not the same rout that already has masses of high school kids taking them over about the time school is out so it could avoid that congestion [were talking so full that they all cant fit on one bus], but maybe west of California and not on it and a loop up to Alki and back to the Junction would be really cool.

  • rb November 5, 2014 (10:53 pm)

    I hope the 120 becomes a rapid ride

  • Robin November 5, 2014 (11:06 pm)

    I hope that for my 240.00/yr minimum (2 cars, two motorcycles, which shouldn’t count, IMHO. They are inherently more efficient after all) that Gatewood service increases to the Junction and Admiral. Because I’m sure there will be no direct service to Boeing Field. Just another tax to go to work to pay taxes. Yes, lots of audits please. As stated above, they couldn’t manage what they had, now we enable them with 45mil more. They’ll probably put Seattle City light Jorge Carrasco and in charge too. And another thing. Why aren’t developers paying into this (maybe via taxes?), as they are cramming more people in with no parking (city allows), but effectively cost shifting to the home owner. Love the city. The views, etc, hate the ever increasing overhead. Next up, soda tax, homeless tax and who knows, air tax, oh, tunnel overrun tax… At least the monorail didn’t make it… this time.

  • Rick November 6, 2014 (1:18 am)

    Lies,promises,failures. And more lies,promises and failures. More money is needed to fix the promises lied about. Always. Bet the paychecks always clear the bank. After all,it’s only money folks.

  • Paul November 6, 2014 (7:16 am)

    Metro still thinks service cuts are needed. A majority of the King County Council disagrees.

  • Mr. B November 6, 2014 (7:22 am)

    If bus riders want more service, why were the fares not increased? Why is the burden placed on automobile owners who don’t use the bus… It makes no sense? I’d like to see a $60 a year fee placed on every bus rider to pay for my gas.

    • WSB November 6, 2014 (7:26 am)

      Metro has a fare increase on the books for next year. Fares have doubled since 2008.

  • au November 6, 2014 (8:59 am)

    ‘I’d like to see a $60.00 a year fee placed on every bus rider to pay for my gas.’
    Yeah, and I’d like to see a $1,000 a year fee placed on every automobile owner to pay for the extra time I spend commuting by bus. Less cars equals less traffic.
    Grow up, dude. You sound like a selfish teenager.

  • West Seattle since 1979 November 6, 2014 (9:30 am)

    Paul, do you have a link to that info?

  • wetone November 6, 2014 (9:52 am)

    People will see very little improvement from this knew tax labeled as a Transit tax for improving Metro. Many of the improvements Metro will be doing could and would of been done without this new tax. Ballot was very misleading from our city leaders Mayor Ed Murray, Dow Constantine, Tom Rasmussen and Scott Kubly. The city will bleed monies off into general fund therefore going into many of their pet projects as the tunnel, seawall, bike improvements. If people researched this tax and the wording they would see that the city can basically do what they want with the money generated from this new tax. Just another way to hit motor vehicle owners with little if any improvement from new fees. Many more taxes coming 2015 for property owners and vehicle owners. People need to research ballot issues very carefully. Expect property taxes along with rents to jump up very soon from the outcome of this election and what is coming in 2015 :)

  • Paul November 6, 2014 (10:06 am)

    West Seattle, I suggest you start here to understand the Metro proposal to cut more service hours to build a reserve that would allow service to be preserved in the next recession.

  • Kayleigh November 6, 2014 (10:17 am)

    Mr. B., I pay taxes to support schools even though I have no children and don’t even really like children—but I get the benefit of having smarter people in the world. I deal with traffic from the Seahawks games even though I hate football because pro sports add life to a city. I pay taxes for libraries even though I rarely use them because books enrich people and culture. I pay taxes for national parks I’ll likely never visit because I benefit from beautiful spaces being protected.
    Why do you want to pay for things that only benefit you directly and immediately? Civilized society simply doesn’t work that way, especially in a major American city which *needs* effective transit to function.

  • Peter November 6, 2014 (10:28 am)

    Regarding above comments about the 120: it’s not eligible for improvements under this plan because less than 80% of the route is in Seattle. These funds also can’t be used to create more Rapid Rides because those require capital investments, and the measure only allows the funds to be used for operational expenses. Those are two problems the city council needs to fix.

    Regarding Wetone’s comment about the tunnel, sea wall, and bike infrastructure being “pet projects,” I just have to note how sad it is that someone is that badly misinformed. These are all critical to out transportation system as a whole.

  • West Seattle since 1979 November 6, 2014 (10:37 am)

    Thanks Paul.

  • wscommuter November 6, 2014 (1:33 pm)

    wetone – you win the prize for most remarkably wrong post – either you’re ill-informed, or deliberately being dishonest. I was especially impressed at your rant about “city” funds going to the tunnel project. You should try turning Fox off for a day or two. Reality may just intrude in your thoughts then for a bit.

  • wetone November 6, 2014 (5:38 pm)

    Peter and wscommuter, thanks for your comments about me being misinformed and dishonest. I don’t work for or involved with our city/state so I have no agenda to push. I just want people to pay attention and research before making their voting choices and how the tax dollars are being spent in this city and state, choices that will greatly impact their lively hoods and affordability to live here. One should never believe one source. For some reason you two seem to have a problem with that ? and get greatly offended when one questions the city’s word as being gospel. Maybe you two can inform the people on how the tunnel and waterfront project will improve and move more traffic, not quoting data from city/state sources like from an outside total independent review ? same with the bicycle issues, show me some real info not done by the city or local bike groups ;) wscommuter is the tunnel still on time and in budget as you ranted and raved it would be ? hum

  • R November 7, 2014 (4:56 am)

    No personal attacks allowed here. Unless your of the “smarter than the rest of us” group. In actuality it’s more like “people who think they are”. I suppose I could slight my newspaper and tv news but they rarely respond. Have a nice day.

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