Voters across the region are deciding whether to dig into their wallets to pay for buses, schools and other projects in King and Pierce Counties.
In King County, voters are deciding whether to raise new taxes and fees to fund King County Metro Transit, and considering new bonds for construction in the Lake Washington School District.
Initial results Tuesday night indicate voters are rejecting Proposition 1 at 55 percent, with 45 percent approving. Those numbers didn’t budge in latest results posted Wednesday.
“It’s mathematically possible we could close this gap, but it’s unlikely,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine after the first results were announced Tuesday.
King County Proposition 1 would raise the sales tax a tenth of a cent and approve a $60 car tab fee to pay for King County Metro Transit and road repairs.
The measure would raise about $130 million a year for 10 years, with 40 percent going to fix and maintain roads and 60 percent for bus service.
“I think people don’t like the vehicle license fee and the vehicle license fee is the only option we had,” said Constantine. “We’ve been asking the Legislature for the past five years to provide us with some progressive funding options and it failed.”
King County says that without the new money, they’ll be forced to cut 16 percent of their current bus service, or about 550,000 hours.
According to Constantine, with the rest of the county budget already under pressure, there’s no money to shift from other departments.
Prop. 1 opposition spokesman Dick Paylor told KIRO Radio’s Jason Rantz Show that he believes his side got their message across.
“Metro’s operating budget is financially unsustainable, it has been for a decade,” said Paylor. “If (voters) were paying attention and they were reading the facts, it would motivate them to turn the ballot back in that they might not have otherwise turned in because they didn’t know about it.”
Voters in the Lake Washington School District are being asked to approve $404 million in general obligation bonds for the construction and renovation of several schools.
Latest election results show 52 percent approved, 48 percent rejected.
The measure would fund the building of three new elementary, one middle and a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math secondary school; the rebuilding of Juanita High School; an addition to Lake Washington High School; and other capital improvements.
You can watch King County Elections staff counting ballots here.
In Pierce County, Metro Parks Tacoma’s $198 million bond issue is passing with 63 percent in favor of the measure, according to the Tacoma News Tribune.
The bond would pay for upgrades to the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium and replace the North Pacific Aquarium. Other parks across Tacoma would also see improvements.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.