Skip to main content
Most King County offices will be closed on Monday, May 30, 2016, for Memorial Day.  
King County logo

News

King County Executive
Dow Constantine


Executive, Mayor announce investments in Metro to ease overcrowding, improve reliability

Summary

An innovative partnership, lower diesel prices, state grants, and stronger than projected sales tax revenues will provide up to $89 million for 69,000 additional hours of annual bus service on many of Metro's busiest suburban routes, King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced today.

Story

King County Executive Dow Constantine today announced Metro will invest $89 million in bus service to relieve chronic overcrowding and delays thanks to increased revenue from partnerships with the City of Seattle and the State of Washington, fuel savings, higher than projected sales tax, and continued cost savings. The investment of service hours will target 54 transit routes serving 28 cities in King County. This includes a partnership with the city of Seattle to fund additional transit improvements to and from Seattle and other suburban cities.

"We're taking advantage of favorable conditions to deliver increased transit service for commuters throughout King County three years earlier than planned," said Executive Constantine. "While this is a significant investment in our transportation system, we still have a long way to go to keep up with the current and growing demand for public transit as our economy strengthens and our population increases."

"Improving transit to suburban cities and giving drivers options reduces traffic on Seattle's most crowded streets," said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray. "The voter-approved expansion of bus service in Seattle increases reliability and reduces overcrowding for commuters and students who come into the city. This agreement reflects our commitment to working with regional partners."

These investments, which include temporary one-time revenues, will come from:

  • Taking advantage of the innovative Regional Partnership Fund included by Mayor Murray in last fall's Seattle voter-approved transit measure, Metro will partner with Seattle to target additional investment in transit corridors that carry suburban commuters to work in downtown Seattle. Seattle will preserve about one-third of the regional partnership fund to respond to future partnership requests from suburban jurisdictions. Metro will enter into a regional partnership under the provisions of the existing Seattle Transit Funding Agreement - $6.4 million
  • Metro's continuing efforts to control costs helped bring spending under budget for 2014 - saving $23 million. Metro also expects to save $21 million in diesel fuel costs through 2017.
  • A state Regional Mobility Grant, pending legislative approval, to improve service in the SR 522 and I-5 south corridors - $2.5 million over the next four years.
  • Additional revenue from fares and utilization of unused Transit Now partnership service hours will generate $9.8 million.
  • More in estimated sales tax revenue than earlier projected, according to a revised forecast from the King County Forecast Council - boosting collections as much as $26.7 million over the biennium, if projections hold.

Of the estimated $89 million in revenues, the Executive is directing $54 million toward the purchase of new buses and the maintenance of existing coaches to carry the additional riders, and $35 million for service allocated under Metro's adopted service guidelines. The revenue will also allow Metro to continue some service in Southeast King County that would have been cut when state Regional Mobility Grant funding expires this year.

As provided under Metro's service guidelines, investments will be made in transit corridors that serve:

  • Riders using routes along I-5 that connect Federal Way, Renton, Kent, and Shoreline to Seattle.
  • Riders using routes that provide connections between the SR 520, I-405, and I-90 corridors and Seattle.
  • Riders in Des Moines and Burien heading to Seattle via the Fourth Avenue and SR 99 corridors.
  • Riders who use routes that connect the south county cities of Kent, Covington, and Maple Valley.
  • Riders using transit between eastside cities from Woodinville to Renton.
  • Riders of routes between Bothell, Kenmore, Lake Forest Park, and Seattle's University District.

Riders could see roughly one-third of the 69,000 annual hours of new service take effect as soon as this September, with two-thirds added in March contingent on Metro's ability to purchase new buses and hire additional operators.

Relevant links

Metro service investments

Quotes

We're taking advantage of favorable conditions to deliver increased transit service for commuters throughout King County three years earlier than planned. While this is a significant investment in our transportation system, we still have a long way to go to keep up with the current and growing demand for public transit as our economy strengthens and our population increases.

Dow Constantine, King County Executive

Improving transit to suburban cities and giving drivers options reduces traffic on Seattle's most crowded streets. The voter-approved expansion of bus service in Seattle increases reliability and reduces overcrowding for commuters and students who come into the city. This agreement reflects our commitment to working with regional partners.

Ed Murray, Seattle Mayor
King County Executive
Dow Constantine
Dow constantine portrait

Read the Executive's biography