28-member panel will present recommendations for the future of transit system
StoryThe Metropolitan King County Council today confirmed the appointment of the 28 members of the regional task force that will provide a vision for the future of transit in King County.
“The future of Metro Transit is at stake, which is why we’ve chosen members of the Regional Transit Task Force who represent the diverse interests of the people who use our bus system,” said Councilmember Larry Phillips, sponsor of the legislation that created the task force. “The work they will undertake in the coming months is incredibly important—they must come together to find a common vision for a system that will serve the growing needs of our region.”
The geographically balanced task force includes a mix of elected officials, representatives of labor, business and other regional interests, and rider interests including human service agencies, educational and commuter interests, as well as riders.
“The membership of the Task Force represents the many communities that are transit users in King County, including low income, minority and transit dependent riders,” said Councilmember Larry Gossett, chair of the Regional Transit Committee. “I know the members will work hard over the coming months and provide recommendations that ensure our transportation system address the needs of the most vulnerable members of our community.”
A sharp drop in the sales tax revenues that support bus service led to a projected $213 million revenue shortfall for Metro Transit over the next two years. In the adopted 2010 King County Budget, the Council reprioritized property tax revenues and adopted a fare increase for 2011 to preserve existing levels of bus service in 2010 and 2011. A projected shortfall remains in 2012 through 2014, which could require cutting approximately 500,000 annual service hours.
In response to the ongoing shortfall, the Council directed the County Executive to convene a task force of regional stakeholders to discuss the future of Metro Transit.
“The work of this task force will be critically important to the future of transportation in our region,” said Council Vice Chair Jane Hague. “I am pleased to see such a broad group of individuals and am particularly excited to see the strong representation from the greater Eastside.”
“The diversity of this group will attempt to balance that suburban and rural areas receive attention to transit needs in addition to urban areas,” said Councilmember Kathy Lambert, who represents District 3 in northeast King County. “The depth of knowledge and experience brought together on this task force is extraordinary. I am grateful these community leaders are willing to serve in the pursuit of varied and creative transit funding solutions.”
The panel will explore King County’s transit system as part of the regional transportation system through key system design factors of land use, social equity and environmental justice, financial sustainability, geographic equity, economic development and productivity and efficiency. The task force will make its recommendations by September 2010.
“Having county-wide support for the Task Force requires that the appointees represent geographic balance from urban, suburban and unincorporated areas,” said Councilmember Julia Patterson. “I am confident that the individuals appointed today are committed to shaping a vision for transit that incorporates the diversity of this region’s interests including those of South King County.”
“They have a big job ahead of them, but I believe this smart, diverse group of people is up to the challenge of finding ways to keep our buses running and our citizens connected,” said Councilmember Jan Drago.
Members of the Regional Transit Task Force