On April 22nd, if you live in King County save Metro Transit service by voting YES on Prop 1 in a special county-wide election.
On Feb. 11, the King County Council formed the King County Transportation District, which has the authority to ask voters to approve funding for transit, roads, and other transportation purposes. The transportation district board will put a funding measure, Prop 1, up for a public vote in King County on April 22. Prop 1 will preserve the existing level of Metro Transit service and provide more funds for maintenance and other transportation projects in the thirty-nine cities and the unincorporated areas of King County. The Transportation Benefit District will pass sixty percent of the funds raised directly to Metro, with the remaining forty percent going to cities for transportation improvements and to the County for road and transportation projects in the unincorporated areas.
Why, you might ask, does this matter for people who walk in King County? Because the bus is just an extension of a walk. Metro buses extend the range of walking trips by helping you carry your groceries back from the store, getting you up long steep hills, and covering long distances without adding reliance on a personal vehicle. Many of us who walk split trips between on foot and on public transit.
While the tax mechanisms involved in Prop 1 are not progressive — a $60 vehicle fee and a .1% sales tax increase for ten years — the alternative, given the lack of local options and the Legislature’s continued inability to fund transportation, is to watch Metro’s already heavily-used service be cut by 17%. As many lower-income households rely on public transit, cutting bus service is even more regressive. Under Prop 1, a low-income rebate program will give back $20 of the vehicle fee for households below 45% of the County’s median household income.
Transit serves an important role for all of us who walk. When your ballot arrives, vote YES for funding Metro, YES for making walking viable, and YES on Prop 1.
You can support King County Metro by joining Move King County‘s volunteer campaign to make sure voters know that the special election is happening.