Across the U.S., public transit funding is being gutted as one means to privatize this essential service. In Puget Sound, federal, state, and local officials have created an artificial crisis for bus service that has already hurt thousands of riders. While state and federal officials bear blame, so do city and county politicians. Join OWLS at a public hearing on Oct. 14 to raise protest to looming 17 percent service cuts at Metro. (see the event page for details). And see below for the impact of these cuts, and some ways that Metro’s fake crisis could be resolved.
King County/Metro Transit carries 80 percent of Seattle riders. Its funding crisis threatens to leave thousands of workers and transit-dependent people stranded. More cuts are on the way. Meanwhile, County officials plan to hike fares again in 2014.
State Legislators need to implement permanent, progressive solutions to end the ongoing crisis for bus service. Local officials have a role to play too — instead of cutting Metro while they push pet projects, such as stadiums. Here are some steps they could take:
–County Exec Constantine, Mayor McGinn, and Seattle Councilman Conlin, who sit on the Sound Transit (ST) board, could delay pricey rail/streetcar studies and expansions, and redirect monies to save service. An example, end the $3 million street car “study” to Ballard!
–The County could cap management wages at $50/hr. & cut top-heavy management.
–ST should use their tax authority to implement a “head tax” on large employers like Amazon. The small “tax” for each employee would restore hours of service.
–Local governments could find revenue that doesn’t require legislative approval, such as higher fees on developers like Vulcan, who benefit from infrastructure.
–Local officials should press the Legislature for progressive tax solutions. A steeply-graduated income tax on millionaires and corporations could raise hundreds of millions of dollars. Enough to fund all the public services that residents need.
Voice your support for fully funding Metro and reversing fare hikes:
Call: Dow Constantine, County Exec – 206-296-4040
Mike McGinn, Seattle Mayor – 206-684-4000