King County Executive Dow Constantine today praised regional leaders on the King County Council’s Regional Transit Committee for their unanimous recommendation of reforms that will make Metro Transit service more productive and efficient.
King County Executive Dow Constantine today praised regional leaders on the King County Council's Regional Transit Committee for their unanimous recommendation of reforms that will make Metro Transit service more productive and efficient.
"This is a watershed moment for regional transportation," said Executive Constantine. "This plan continues the award-winning work begun by the Regional Transit Task Force, which the Council and I established last year. The plan sets transparent guidelines for service allocation based on measurable data and identified needs, rather than arbitrary geographic boundaries or political choices."
The "Strategic Plan for Public Transportation 2011-2021" approved today by the Regional Transit Committee (RTC) with a "do-pass" recommendation identifies specific actions and performance outcomes in areas such as service quality, financial stability, transparency and accountability to the public. When combined with other actions, the plan will allow Metro to carry more riders for each hour of service offered, which will boost productivity and help preserve transit service for thousands of riders.
The Executive thanked RTC chair and legislation co-sponsor, Councilmember Reagan Dunn, for creating an efficient, collaborative process for timely adoption that led to unanimous committee support. The Executive also praised the regional cooperation of representatives from Seattle, Bellevue and other suburban cities.
"Through the work of both the RTC and the task force, we can align the allocation of transit service with the values of our region, based on productivity, geographic value, and social equity," said Executive Constantine. "This is a national model for transparency and data-driven delivery of transit service."
The transit strategic plan is based upon recommendations made by the Regional Transit Task Force, a broad coalition of transit stakeholders from throughout the region appointed by the Executive. The task force unanimously called for setting priorities that guide how decisions are made on service reductions or service growth, and working with the Legislature on a more stable source of funding for public transit.
Over the past few years, King County Metro has cut costs and increased fares. But more than 60 percent of Metro's operating funds come from an unstable source: sales tax revenue. With consumers spending less over the past few years, Metro's income has plunged and can no longer sustain current levels of service.
Despite creating many savings and efficiencies, Metro still faces an ongoing annual shortfall of about $60 million. Without a new source of revenue, Metro will have to make deep service cuts to live within its means.
The Executive is working with regional leaders, legislators and the Governor on a long-term funding solution for statewide transportation needs; for the short-term, to help Metro develop a sustainable financial future, the Executive will soon transmit legislation to provide interim two-year funding for public transit, under authority recently granted by the State Legislature.
The transit strategic plan will provide key policy guidance in shaping the Executive's biennial budget for Metro, to be proposed later this year.
The Executive said he looks forward to working with Councilmember Larry Phillips, who co-sponsored today's legislation, on moving it forward for adoption by the King County Council.
The Strategic Plan for Public Transportation is now set to be heard June 28 in the Council's Transportation, Economy and Environment Committee chaired by Phillips, with a vote on final adoption scheduled for July 11 by the full Council.
To read the Strategic Plan for Public Transportation 2011-2021, visit https://metro.kingcounty.gov/planning