King County Postpones August Target for Transit Sales Tax Initiative

King County, home to Seattle, will wait to ask voters to approve a 0.2% sales tax for funding transit until a time both when transit use is higher, and people aren’t facing waves of sudden unemployment.

1 minute read

March 20, 2020, 8:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Seattle Electric Bus

SounderBruce / Flickr

Doug Trumm reports that the King County Council will no longer hold an August vote on a proposed a transit package ballot measure. “Since the measure was to be funded by a 0.2% sales tax, there was a fear it would exacerbate economic hardship from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak,” according to Trumm.

“Leaders also worried the countywide measure wouldn’t pass,” according to Trumm, as social distancing is implemented by many in the county, and as unemployment spikes.

Just a few weeks ago, the county announced a “transit investment concepts for a countywide ballot measure,” according to a March 4 article by Trumm. “The measure could jumpstart King County Metro’s efforts to electrify its fleet or it could focus on expanding conventional transit service. Either way, at $160 million per year, it would be a significant new revenue source for transit.”

It’s possible that Seattle could take up a similar cause for a citywide effort without the county, but for the time being, the political calculus is likely to be the same for the city as it is for the county--though Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan did recently indicate a willingness to go it alone on the issue.

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