Don’t forget tonight’s public meeting on proposed bus service cuts by Metro Transit in the wake of severe budget problems.
Metro Transit is asking the King County Council for a temporary $20 annual surcharge on licensed vehicles as a stop-gap measure to maintain bus service. Metro has announced that if the council doesn’t approve the surcharge, it will have to cut up to 600,000 service hours – or 17 percent of current bus routes – in 2012 and 2013.
Due to the dramatic recession-driven drop in sales tax revenues, Metro Transit is facing a $60 million annual deficit between revenues and the cost of providing current levels of transit service. That shortfall would require Metro to shrink service by 600,000 hours of annual bus service over the next two years, or 17 percent of the entire system, which is the equivalent of cutting all weekend transit service or all weekday commuter service.
The State Legislature authorized a tool that is available to King County to help maintain Metro service at its current level: a temporary $20 Congestion Reduction Charge on vehicle licenses for each of the next two years. County Executive Constantine has sent that proposal to the County Council as well as two other pieces of legislation:
- An ordinance approving a Congestion Relief Plan, a prerequisite for Council action on a Congestion Reduction Charge.
- An ordinance cutting 100,000 hours of Metro bus service effective February 2012, the first step in reducing bus service by 600,000 service hours.
The service cuts would hit every route serving the Phinney-Greenwood area, including the 5, 28, 48 and 358.
Route 28, which runs along 8th Avenue NW, would be severely cut. The 28 Express would be reduced or revised, and the 28 Local would be eliminated. Both the Local and Express service on Route 5, which runs along Greenwood Avenue North, would be reduced or revised. The 48, which runs along 85th Street, would be reduced or revised. The 358, which runs along Aurora Avenue North and Linden Avenue North, would be reduced or revised.
Tonight’s meeting is at 6 p.m. at the King County Courthouse, Council Chambers, 516 Third Ave., Seattle. There’s one more meeting at 6 p.m. next Thursday, July 21, at the Burien City Council Chambers, 400 SW 152nd St., Burien.
If you can’t make it to one of the public hearings, you can submit your comments to the council online.