The Metropolitan King County Council today tabled—until completion of the County’s 2015-2016 budget—any further service reductions on Metro Transit. This action canceled the proposed bus cuts and service changes slated for February 2015.
Following the defeat of Proposition 1 in April of this year, the County Executive asked the Council to approve legislation that would reduce Metro bus service by 550,000 hours between September 2014 and September 2015.
A majority of the King County Council sought a different approach, and on June 9, passed an ordinance sponsored by Councilmember Rod Dembowski approving the service reduction for September of this year, totaling 161,000 annual service hours on bus routes that were below the 25 percent productivity threshold as part of the County’s adopted Transit Service Guidelines. The remaining cuts were tabled. The County Executive vetoed the ordinance.
In June, the Council also adopted a motion calling on the Executive to consider several strategies to reduce or prevent the additional proposed service reductions.
In July, the council adopted—and the Executive signed—an ordinance laying out a process that would account for Metro’s finances when assessing future cuts.
After today’s action, Councilmember Dembowski released this statement:
“For the last five months I have been focused on the clear message I heard from voters following the defeat of Proposition 1 – voters wanted more work from Metro to ensure we have the most efficient transit division possible. In June, Councilmember Jane Hague and I put forward a plan to identify additional cost savings, efficiencies, and new revenue to reduce Metro's annual budget gap, and thereby significantly decrease the number of transit service hours that need to be cut. Today, I am happy to report that the plan is working.
”We live in one of the fastest growing counties in the nation and the demand for a world class transit and transportation system is higher than ever. I am pleased that there is now consensus to cancel further service cuts to allow the County Council to complete the King County Budget and for Seattle voters to act in November on Seattle’s Proposition 1. This is an approach that a majority of us on the County Council supported from the outset.”