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Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announces remedy for Metro bus service cuts

  • Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announces his plan to provide bus service to the City of Seattle.
  • Murray’s plan includes providing $40 million in Seattle funding plus a $3 million regional partnership Fund.
  • Seattle residents would pay a $60 per year vehicle and the sales tax would be raised 0.1 percent.

Some Metro bus routes slated for cuts or elimination might be saved by the cities they serve.

Just one day after King County Executive Dow Constantine announced a program to allow cities to enter into contracts to buy bus service, Mayor Ed Murray announced his plans to preserve bus service in Seattle.

Constantine said Monday that cities must, “reflect the full cost of providing the service. They cannot come at the expense of other cities or the regional allocation of service.”

In order to cover that cost, Murray wants to raise taxes and use a car tab fee to save key bus service in Seattle.

According to Murray, a $60 car tab fee and a 0.1 percent sales tax hike will raise $45 million a year.

“Of this, $40 million will preserve the vast majority of the cuts through 2015. This is more than 90 percent of the 110,000 daily boardings proposed for elimination in the City of Seattle,” Murray said.

Murray would also set aside $2 million for reduced fares and car tab tax rebates for low-income bus riders. His plan also calls for the use of city reserves to protect night owl bus service in Seattle.

Currently, the county allows limited contract services for transit, but the county supplements the costs.

Constantine said the county program, allowing cities to contract with the county to buy service, dubbed Community Mobility Contracts, is designed as a bridge until the county finds sustainable, full-funding for Metro Transit. The county council would have to approve contracts for bus service between cities and the county.

“Until the Legislature acts, I cannot ask cities to accept cuts that they are willing, locally, to prevent,” he said.

After the failure of countywide Proposition 1 to fund Metro bus service and road programs, the county announced four rounds of bus service cuts totaling 16 percent of transit service.

Constantine said the first round of Metro bus cuts planned for this fall cannot be avoided.

The executive also announced plans for a peer review of the bus agency and an audit of Metro’s reserves and capital programs.

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