At a press conference yesterday, KC Exec Dow Constantine asked the County Council to approve a temporary $20 vehicle licensing fee (officially called a congestion reduction charge) to maintain service at current levels.
The recession-driven decline in the sales-tax revenues that support public transit leaves the Metropolitan King County Council with two choices – ensure interim funding to continue service at current levels, or face the reality of cutting 17 percent of bus service.
To meet that challenge, King County Executive Dow Constantine today sent the Council a proposed ordinance to enact the one tool recently authorized by the state Legislature for King County: a temporary $20 Congestion Reduction Charge on vehicle licenses for each of the next two years.
Or, there’s Option 2.
Should the fee not be enacted, the Executive also transmitted legislation for the Council to shrink Metro service by 600,000 hours of annual bus service over the next two years, or 17 percent of the entire system – the rough equivalent of eliminating all rush hour bus service for commuters, or all weekend service in King County. The ordinance covers just the first round of service cuts – a 100,000-hour reduction to begin next February.
I was unable to attend the press conference, but not for lack of passion about the subject. The cuts Metro is considering are serious and will affect the quality of life of every resident of the county, not just those who ride the bus. I intend to lobby the council and do whatever else I can to make sure this happens.
If you want to send a message to the council (either all nine members or your local representative), start here.