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Councilmembers propose transit compromise



Running a safe, efficient and reliable transit system that supports our growing economy and is financially sustainable is one King County’s top priorities.

This is why Councilmember Dave Upthegrove, County Council Chair Larry Phillips, Budget and Fiscal Management Committee Chair Joe McDermott and Councilmember Larry Gossett are promoting a compromise plan putting Metro on a path to financial sustainability, preserving the service guidelines and strategic plan, and continuing Metro’s ongoing efforts to operate efficiently and safely.

“We agree that service should be maintained. We agree that Metro should make every effort to reduce costs and find savings. We are all committed to finding any new revenue that can help us stave off the bus cuts we have long planned for. But we cannot budget based on what-ifs. We have to make decisions based on what our finances look like today, not what we hope they will look like in the future,” said Councilmember Upthegrove.

“Our strategic plan for transit calls for service levels that are financially viable and fully supported for the public to rely on. We need financial certainty to ensure good governance for our transit system,” said Council Chair Phillips.

This compromise plan responds to a proposal that passed out of the Transportation, Economy and Environment (TrEE) Committee directing King County Metro to spend money that simply does not exist, and undermines the unanimously adopted strategic plan and service guidelines which were intended to take politics out of bus route decisions.

“If the proposal that has moved forward is adopted, we won’t have enough money to operate Metro service into the next biennium. I know my colleagues want to make the financially prudent decision. This proposal strives to strike a balance between operating a fiscally sustainable system and being responsive to any additional new revenues generated,” said Councilmember McDermott.

“This compromise proposal is the transparent and responsible course for those who rely on the bus—matching ongoing spending to known revenues, and later adjusting that spending up or down as circumstances inevitably change,” said Councilmember Gossett.

The compromise proposal commits the County to adopting the first half of proposed service cuts in September 2014 and February 2015. Scheduled cuts that come later in 2015 will not go forward until the County’s budget process is completed and there is more known about the updated economic situation. The proposal also calls on Metro to continue its ongoing efforts to find efficiencies and ways to reduce service cuts.

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