April 3, 2014
Vote yes on roads and transit funds
The state failed, once again, to find a way to fund transportation. So, once again, the county is on the hook to do so. It’s unfortunate that it has come to this, but it has. Voters should approve King County’s Proposition 1, to fund roads and transit.
It’s not cheap, ($60 on car tabs per year and a 0.1 percent sales tax increase for the next 10 years) but neither is the transportation network needed to keep one of the fastest growing counties in the nation moving.
It’s important to note a bus fare increase is part of the package, so riders, even those without cars, are paying directly for the system as well.
Opponents say that Metro is taking in record revenue, even more than it did before the recession. Their simplistic analysis seems to ignore the increases in ridership and population.
Without the money, Metro is looking at a 17 percent reduction in bus service. Even for those who don’t ride the bus, consider the hundreds if not thousands of cars that would be dumped on the roads if those cuts become reality.
In Newcastle, routes 114 and 240 would see reductions in service.
The measure would also help fund the county’s road network. Forty percent of the money raised would go back to the cities to help them support their road network.
In Newcastle, that means about $274,000 per year for city streets, not to mention the funds going to neighboring cities, which will help drivers who ever travel anywhere inside the county.
The measure has flaws. The 10-year sunset is a bit too far out. If the state does get its act together, it would be nice to see this tax go away more quickly. The flat taxes are regressive, hitting the poor more sharply than the wealthy — a car tab tax based on the vehicle’s value might be more palatable.
The measure is far from perfect, but it’s what we’re left with after years and years of state inaction. Hold your nose, and vote yes.