King County Executive Dow Constantine and the County Council today agreed to a process for reducing 550,000 hours in Metro services over the next year to keep services in line with actual revenues.
“This agreement adheres to the principles I insisted on many weeks ago: Don’t rely on money we don’t have; don’t spend one-time money for on-going service; and use objective criteria to make decisions on saving or cutting service,” said Executive Constantine. “I want to thank members for arriving at legislation that balances Metro’s budget, and that is sustainable.”
The legislation adopted today aligns bus service with available revenues by enacting 161,000 hours of cuts planned for September, and directing Metro to take a 188,000 service reduction in February 2015. The legislation also establishes an ad-hoc committee of the Executive and Councilmembers that will continue to look at the February service change in light of updated revenue forecasts and other data. The most recent forecast of sales tax revenues, issued last Friday, shows a slight decrease of about $2 million during the next biennium below the last forecast in March. Another forecast is scheduled for August.
The remaining 201,000 hours of service reductions proposed for phases three and four will be determined as part of the Council’s existing process for adoption of the 2015-16 biennial budget.
“During my administration, King County Metro has implemented dramatic efficiency measures and innovations, preserving service even during the worst of times,” said Executive Constantine. “I will continue to fight not only to maintain but to expand transit service.”
The Executive recently announced a plan for Metro and Sound Transit to adopt a new approach to fully integrate bus and rail across agency boundaries – putting the focus on the needs of customers, and better connecting Link light rail and RapidRide high-frequency buses to the entire bus network and other transportation modes for faster, more reliable trips and more overall mobility.