Update: Councilmembers Hague and Lambert joined the five members of the County Council who already agreed to adopt the congestion relief charge providing enough to save metro for two years! The organizers who came out to advocate for this funding invite all to join together to see this exciting deal through! Attend the Monday’s hearing.The hearing is on Monday August 15th from 1:30-3:00pm at the King County Courthouse, 516 Third Ave.
Council supermajority agrees to vote for $20 charge to avert Metro service cuts
King County Executive Dow Constantine announced this morning that a supermajority of seven County Council members have agreed to support the proposed $20 congestion reduction charge to help fund Metro for two years.
They are supporting the charge in combination with additional actions to increase the transit system’s efficiency.
Approval of their agreed-upon legislative package would avert a 17 percent cut of Metro bus service. The Council is scheduled to take action next Monday, Aug. 15.
Read the County Executive’s news release»
The agreement announced today would do the following:
Develop a new transit incentive program that will offer bus tickets to people when they renew their car tabs.
People can either use the tickets to try transit or donate the ticket value to a pool that human service agencies will use to provide mobility for people in need.
Phase out the downtown Seattle Ride Free Area (RFA) in October 2012.
The City of Seattle pays Metro $400,000 a year to support the RFA, but that covers only about 18 percent of Metro’s $2.2 million annual cost to operate the RFA. Phasing out the RFA will increase fare revenue for Metro. Other advantages:- The transit system will be simpler—riders will always pay when they board.- Passengers heading away from downtown will get off the bus at any door, making deboarding easier and faster.- Metro expects a decrease in the number of people who board downtown and don’t pay when they reach their destination.
Increase the pool of funds that provides discounted bus tickets to human service and homeless programs.
Metro sells human service agencies deeply discounted tickets worth nearly $2 million annually. Metro will either increase the current ticket allocation or further reduce the discount, while giving the public the option of donating their transit incentive tickets. Metro will seek the advice of human service agencies on how to best help those in need. This enhanced program will assist those who have relied on free service downtown–and give them the ability to travel outside of downtown with the tickets.
Move ahead with “right-sizing” transit service, consistent with the aim of Metro’s strategic plan to build a more productive, cost-effective transit system. In communities where Metro’s fixed-route buses serve few riders, Metro will deploy lower-cost, more efficient Dial-a-Ride Transit (DART), community access transportation services, and vanpools. Metro will reach out to community organizations and local residents to help shape “right-size” transportation strategies.
Consider routes that carry more riders due to the effects of highway tolling as candidates for added services.
This is consistent with principles to enhance Metro’s productivity developed by the Regional Transit Task Force and adopted in Metro’s strategic plan.
While the temporary congestion reduction charge is in effect, the County would continue working with state and regional leaders on a long-term funding solution for transit.
For updates and background information, visit www.kingcounty.gov/metro/future
Eliminating the Ride Free Area will inconvenience workers and shoppers, and will cause real hardship to poor people who use the free bus downtown to get to the doctor, DSHS, the food bank & other services. Many people who have mobility problems don’t have disabled-person bus passes (which aren’t free, anyway). Tom Rasmussen on the City Council said Seattle will continue making its contribution to the Free Ride Area, of $400,000. But Metro’s additional $1.8 million is going away. One option is the City Council designating a portion of the $80 City car tab charge they are voting on soon, for subsidizing the Ride Free Area. I have asked each Council Member to do so, and I hope others who care about this issue will, too.
Times are tough for all of us, and we each have individual budgets to balance and we each often make painful daily choises of what we can and can not afford to do. Raising our car tab price by an additional $80 is something each Voter should have the right to express their opinion with, through their vote. If your elected official has ignored your previous votes against such taxes, then vote them out of office. If they are voting the way you want, then put your X to re-elect them.
In any case, I believe each of us needs to be able to vote on this new $80 tax.
Who said $80? Quit exaggerating. It’s only 20 bucks a year. And that’s roughly $1.66 per month. I can live with that. Bus riders have to give up the free zone. That will hurt a bit more than $1.66 per month. We all give a bit in this case.
King County is proposing to add the $20 car tab fee to support Metro. The Seattle City Council is proposing an additional $80 car tab fee. So we are looking at a $100/year increase if both increases go through.
and support the car tab fee. Maybe cars should have to pay per mile of driving. I don’t know exactly how I feel about the City drivers having to come up with another $80.00 per vehicle, but $20.00 will save us all a lot of headache.
I have also contacted them about the wording of the 3rd bullet point. I believe that the intention is to increase the pool of the discouted tickets to support rate reductions for human services and homeless.
Car owners pay per mile of driving by one of the highest gas tax rates in the entire nation. Perhpas bus riders should pay per mile if we go w/ this approach?
Few people pay the true cost of their own consumption…. Do bus riders pay the true cost of a public transit system , no, it is indeed subsidized. If you think your tab/gas taxes pay for the building and upkeep of roads, though you are fooling yourself too…. Gas and tab taxes and tolls in general pay for less than 1/2 of roadway building costs (including highways). The rest comes from other funding sources – general funds, bonds, etc. Local roads (ie – anything that is not a federal highway) see little if any money from gas taxes anyway- most of the money for those comes property taxes.