**This post was written by Madrona, Seattle reader Hester Serebrin who is not affiliated with the Madrona, Seattle blog. We love hearing the opinions of our readers, and would welcome an opposing stance on the proposition.
Why I’m Voting YES on Prop 1 on April 22nd to Save Metro Bus Service
Without action soon, King County Metro will cut 17% of service, with the first cuts taking place as early as June of this year. As many as 74 routes, including routes 4 and 27, are slated to be completely eliminated. Another 107 routes, including routes 2 and 3, will be restructured or reduced. Route 8 will no longer run South or East of E John Street & 16th Avenue E. You can learn more about the cuts that Madrona and surrounding neighborhoods are facing here.
Having grown up in Madrona, and a frequent rider of the often infrequent #2, I can say from experience that Madrona can’t afford to lose its already limited bus service. And neither can the rest of King County. As any bus rider who has been passed up by an overcrowded bus or forced to stand for an entire commute can tell you, these cuts couldn’t be coming at a worse time. Metro should be growing by 15% just to reduce crowding and keep up with demand.
Thanks to the Great Recession, Metro has lost more than $1 billion in projected revenue from the sales tax. Through efficiencies, cutting less productive routes, nearly doubling fares, and spending down reserves, King County has been able to avoid major cuts to our bus service. Meanwhile our state leaders in Olympia have failed to authorize a more stable long-term funding source for transit.
But we can save our buses by voting YES on Prop 1. King County Executive Dow Constantine and the County Council have moved forward with a proposal to fund Metro with the only funding source the county has available. The measure— a $60 vehicle fee and .01% sales tax increase—would cost the average household about $11/month, and will include measures to make sure that low income bus riders and car owners can still afford to get around. Those making less than $23,000/year can get a reduced bus fare that will save bus riders between $35-54/month. Low-income car owners will pay a reduced license fee.
Fail to pass this ballot measure, and we fail our friends, family, and neighbors in King County: Metro’s proposed service cuts would affect up to 80% of all bus riders, who will have to wait longer or walk farther to get on the bus. Some will be left without a way to get around at all. And it’s not just bus riders who will be affected: service cuts are anticipated to put 30,000 cars back on the street, clogging our already congested arterials and highways and making commutes worse for everyone on the road.
That’s why I’m voting YES on Prop 1 on April 22nd, and I urge you to do the same. You can learn more at www.movekingcountynow.org.