Council Passes CRC, RFA Deal After Dramatic Day

The council took a vote at 7:30 pm, more than four hours later than planned.

After a dramatic delay of many hours, the King County Council approved a $20 Congestion Reduction Charge and the rest of a compromise deal that announced was last Friday.

The 7-2 vote delays a deep bus service cut for two years, gives ride free bus tickets to residents in exchange for the $20 vehicle license fee, and ends the Downtown Seattle’s Ride Free Area in October of next year (more on the RFA).

The fee required a 6-vote supermajority to pass and will not go before voters. Republicans Reagan Dunn and Pete von Reichbauer voted against the proposal. Before the vote, rumors were swirling that Republicans Kathy Lambert and Jane Hague had turned their back on the deal, and the council was in recess for more than four hours and it seemed at times like other the Republican members had convinced Lambert and Hague to walk away.

The transit community pushed hard for the CRC, and seemed to be heard. “Your public testimony made a difference,” said Councilmember Bob Ferguson, who was on the fence earlier in the year.

For more on the deal, read Friday’s summary.




Comments

  1. Jack says

    This is great news to those of us who rely on Metro to get us there and back. Thanks to the council for leading on this issue!

  2. Bruce Nourish says

    A bunch of us ended up in the elevator with Dunn afterwards. He’s pretty affable — joked about being alone in an elevator with bus people. Said there had been three or four flip-flops during the day — lots of drama.

    • Brian says

      Sounds like he thinks this is a big game. Me thinks it would behoove us to show him his intransigence has consequences. He may have a relatively conservative district but even in his district in KC is he really unbeatable?

  3. Z says

    Now that you have a temporary reprieve, its time to get a more perminate funding package put together, and approved before your two years expires…

    • Ryan says

      Exactly. Let’s see if some of the needed reforms are made, and a sustainable plan can come together. I’d like to think that with some action now, we can avoid a similar “crisis” later … but somehow I doubt that’s going to be the case.

      • says

        I think that to some degree we’re doomed to periodic transit funding crises unless transit is either profitable or so popular that it’s politically untouchable.

      • Ryan says

        To an extent, but this “crisis” presented an opportunity to force some cuts to low-ridership routes and do a bit of clean-up at Metro. Rather, we passed an emergency fix that basically continues the status quo and doesn’t force any change. That’s a recipe for history to keep repeating iteself.

      • Mike Orr says

        Metro has to do the cleanups before it goes before the Legislature next year to ask for permanent funding. The first question the legislators will ask is, “How many of those buses are still running empty?”

    • Z says

      It’s too bad this could not have been extended to some other PTBA’s in the state. While this certainly isnt a time for the various agencies to be sitting on their laurels, this funding could have helped bridge a gap to keep the core ridership strong.

      As a side note about the PTBAs, mabye it’s time to redefine the laws and agency boundaries a bit. One of the things i’ve noticed about many of our PTBAs is that they have a core area (a city or two) than usually large swaths of rural areas. Mabye its time to change the laws regarding the PTBAs to allow them to only function inside the urban area in a respective area. Than, for the rest of the county, the county can form if it so chooses a Rural Transportation Authority of some sort with a diffrent, more stable funding source (property tax?) to solely provide the rural service that seems to drag some of the PTBAs down. Just food for thought.

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