Seattle Area Voters Resoundingly Reject Transit Initiative

With 55 per cent of the vote, King County voters on April 22 opposed increasing their sales tax by one-tenth of one per cent and increasing an annual auto registration fee by $60. 72 Metro Transit bus routes will be eliminated.

"King County Executive Dow Constantine announced Wednesday (April 23) that, with the defeat of Proposition 1 in the special election, he will send legislation Thursday to the County Council to eliminate 72 Metro Transit bus routes and reduce service by 550,000 hours," reports Q13 Fox News. In addition, 84 routes will have reduced service, King County said in a news release,

Proposition 1 would have implemented a $60 vehicle fee and increased the King County sales tax by 0.1%, with the revenues being directed toward maintaining Metro Transit bus service at its current hours and supporting road repair and maintenance in cities.

Seattle is the county seat of King County. However, according to Wikipedia"about two-thirds of the county's population [of 1,931,249] lives in the city's suburbs," which might explain the measure's defeat.

The loss comes after Metro Transit saw record ridership last year, according to a February news release. The editorial board of The Seattle Times would appear pleased with the election outcome based on their recent editorial posted here. They wrote that Metro needed to reduce operating costs before voters approved new revenue.

Seattle Times reporter Mike Lindblom writes that Friends of Transit will file an initiative to increase the property tax to provide new funding for bus operations for Metro Transit. "The proposal would raise $25 million a year for six years, at a tax rate of $22 per $100,000 of property value." The group needs to collect 20,638 valid signatures for the November election.

“Seattle will grind to a halt if we don’t act fast to save buses,” said transit activist Ben Schiendelman. “We will not rest until we have reversed these cuts and begun making the investments we need to provide Seattle with the transit system it deserves.”

No word as to whether road funding will be included in the ballot measure. Proposition 1 "would have been split 60 percent for transit and 40 percent for county and city roads," writes Lindblom.

Full Story: With Prop. 1 defeated, King County to move to eliminate 72 bus routes

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