Kurt Triplett
Kurt Triplett

I want to dive into these some more later, but for now, both the Seattle and King County executives have released their 2010 budget plans.  In both cases, these budgets will be overseen by a new executive.

Anyway, the City’s six-year Capital Improvement Program (CIP) .pdf is most interesting for the beginnings of a tunnel funding plan.  It’s not crystal-clear from the document, but  Scott Gutierrez says $600m of the $930m City responsibility is programmed, and some of it would use the same City MVET authority that Mike McGinn hopes to dedicate to building light rail.

At the County level, Kurt Triplett released his  Transportation Budget (pdf).  There are no huge surprises for anyone who read our series on Triplett’s Metro plan.

I speculated that the audit might point out some savings that could avoid some of the originally scheduled cuts.  However, the suggested audit savings were either extremely unpalatable, or positioned a few years into the future.  Thus, there was no change to the previously proposed 310,000 hours of suspensions over the next two years.  These suspensions amount to a 5% cut from a baseline of the planned service level in 2010-11, and therefore are smaller cut from the 2009 service level.  The other 4% from the Triplett plan’s headline 9% cut come in 2012 and 2013, and may be avoided thanks to audit savings.

Two other exciting tidbits:

  • $34m for a RapidRide “F” line (Burien, Tukwila Link, Southcenter, Tukwila Sounder, S. Renton P&R,  Renton TC).  (see page 33) Design work to start in 2011.  Previously planned lines are A (Pacific Hwy S), B (NE 8th St, Bellevue/Redmond), C (West Seattle), D (Ballard), and E (Aurora).  I’ll post more when I get it.
  • $5.5m to get ORCA readers for all doors on all Metro coaches (p.25), greatly speeding loading and unloading.

The next step for both budgets is to be deliberated on by the respective councils.

35 Replies to “2010 City and County Transportation Budgets”

    1. Joshua,

      I’ve asked about this a couple of time and received a generic “yes, we have to look at that” each time.

      The Council could, right now, raise an extra $6m a year in property tax for Metro without a public vote, so that would be the first priority if we’re looking for more revenue.

  1. Ah the orca reader is slower than the magnetic stripe readers on the Metro buses. Having used both now for a month, I’d say that the miss reads on the orca readers are more frequent than my old bus pass.

    1. I find ORCA faster than the mag-stripe passes, mostly because I don’t have to fumble the dang thing out of my wallet in order to use it.

      1. Some people still fumble to get their ORCA out of the wallet to tap. A polite reminder that it’s unnecessary is in hand.

        For the mag-stripe passes, some swipe them so hard they’re breaking them in half. ORCA doesn’t have that problem.

  2. I so far must be lucky or I have the right touch. I havent’ had any issues with ORCA when tapping on and off. I got a friendly reminder when I got on the 166 that my monthly pass is about to expire tomorrow and again when I tapped off at King Street Station (Sounder)

    I’ve been using my ORCA card while in my wallet with a RFID debit card, work ID card, and a couple other things and so far, have not had any issues. I tend to walk while holding my wallet against the reader flat and it works every time.

      1. Agreed – the system seems to be working much better (and a wee bit faster) since about the end of August. And as Oran says, technique DOES matter.

      2. My husband had a “Try Again” message this morning on the 120, and the driver just waved him on… (I’m still getting employer-supplied monthly passes.)

        I think it would have worked just fine a second time, but the driver waved us on because the bus was crowded and running late.

        Wonder how often that’s happening; but I suppose it’s not much different then the missed revenue from “fake” transfers and the like.

  3. When will paper passes ( I bought a pack of 20 $2 tickets awhile ago ) expire, or will they? I am an infrequent commuter with an Orca card but I have these old passes lying around still.

    1. If I remember correctly, you will be able to use them as long as you have them – they will just stop selling them.

    1. I wonder how that’ll work with zone based fares? Or will it be like Link/Sounder where it’ll charge 2 zone peak upon entry and refunds the difference if you tap out within 1 zone. This isn’t an issue for outbound buses from the ride free area but for other cases. It sure enables more flexibility in fare structures, like distance based fares on buses.

      1. I think, as Kevin said in the interview this last week, that the largest issue right now how to work out fair evasion problems. I also believe that the communication update will integrate OCRA with the tracking system. So it seams like they would be able to communicate and know when a fare zone boundary has been passed. In that case when you get on you would pay the maximum fare and then refunded the difference when you tap off.

        I forgot where I saw it but I saw somewhere that you need people to have roughly a 10% chance of having their fare checked.

      2. It’s interesting to read that Desmond believes increased ORCA adoption alone could speed fare payment to the point that the Ride Free Area is no longer needed.

        It seems like having readers at every door would benefit a move toward distance-based fares like Sounder and Link with a full fare being deducted at boarding with any difference being refunded upon leaving, otherwise all-door boarding would leave the driver unable to see if someone tapped at a rear door.

        I think a wiser move would be to standardize the fare structure with a single price regardless of distance or time of day. Just because ORCA will accommodate a complex fare structure doesn’t mean Metro should use one. Standardizing fares and incenting riders to use ORCA through reload incentives, lower fares and the elimination of paper transfers could increase revenue while simultaneously making the system easier to understand, thereby eliminating a layer of uncertainty that could serve to keep potential riders off the bus.

        Metro also needs to make it easier to get cards and to reload them. It’s great if you start your trip by a TVM or can wait for added value to trickle through the system, but increasing the distribution network would likely increase the adoption rate.

      3. Well, if there was a daily price cap on fares then that would help alleviate the worry of getting overcharged and you’d always know the max you can spend in a day on fares.

        But you’re right in pointing out the trend towards simpler fare structures. Many transit agencies have been abandoning transfers in favor of daily passes.

      4. I like the idea of daily price capping and think it could help drive ridership as well as ORCA adoption. Might be a good way to accommodate a day pass.

      5. Agreed – I have seen that feature on several transit systems in Europe. An automatic day pass if you ride more than a couple of trips. ORCA could make that a day pass across multiple transit systems to improve its value even more.

  4. Wouldn’t it be nice if this Renton-to-Burien RapidRide route also served the Boeing Plant in Renton (estimated 9,000 employees), The Landing shopping/residential comlex (900,000 sf of retail, 1,500 housing units), and Coulon Beach Park? PACCAR workers and other nearby multi-family residents long the Lake would also benefit. Wouldn’t be more than a two mile extension to the north.

    1. Indeed, that area is becoming a major employment/retail/residential area with the new development. Currently Metro Route 240 (Bellevue-Newcastle-Renton) serves that area along with ST Express routes 560, 564, 565. Worth a study.

    2. As long as it makes these stops east of the Renton Transit Center. If it makes them between Southcenter and Renton, it will slow most people who aren’t going to those places.

    3. It would also be nice if this Renton-Burien route someday connected to the Downtown-West Seattle route.

      1. It would connect with the 120, which is very close to Rapid Ride frequency already. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the 120 becomes a Rapid Ride route. I wonder why it wasn’t Route F?

  5. The new Rapid Ride route between Burien and Renton is essentially the Route 140 routing. As you can see from a Metro Route Map there are already long stretches where there are no stops.

    This route provides essential east-west service, has strong potential ridership, and can be further improved by working with the cities to give signal priority, better loading at stops and lane improvements. It also balances the Transit Now investment to give another route to South King County.

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