Yesterday Executive Constantine formally introduced legislation to enact a $20 “Congestion Reduction Charge,” or two-year vehicle license fee that avoids deep Metro cuts for two years, in the hope that legislative solution will emerge in that time. Metro also unveiled a new website that explains the measure in deep detail.
Mr. Constantine’s office hopes that at least six County Councilmembers will vote to enact the charge without the added effort of a ballot measure. By law, the Council cannot act on its new authority until July 22nd.
To illustrate the cuts, Metro released a plan for the first 100,000 hours of up to 600,000 service hours of cuts that might eventually be necessary (see map above). In the absence of the fee, these cuts would take place in February 2012. The plan would eliminate 20 routes altogether and reduce service on 12 others. These cuts are drawn from Metro’s lower performing routes and are certainly not the most painful ones on the horizon. That said, service reorganization proposals (like mine in the Rainier Valley) depend on the hours being cut here to make it work; when these hours disappear, those plans are no longer viable. And in spite of low ridership, these cuts do cause pain, and for no real gain to the transit system.
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