Discussion last Thursday at the Regional Transit Task Force (RTTF) meeting mostly revolved around Metro’s funding issues, and particularly how it relates to the State. You can see the meeting’s presentation here and my live blogging here. Genesee Adkins, King County’s state and federal relations manager summed up what most of us know, government at all levels is hurting, especially now that the federal stimulus funds are drying up.
After her presentation RTTF members started discussing what they think Metro should do. Almost all members agree that over the next few years Metro needs to seek a more sustainable funding source. Where the disagreement lay was what Metro should do in the short term. Should it go to the state this legislative session and ask for both a long term and short term funding source, like a vehicle license fee that expires in a few years, or should it only focus on the long term funding source?
The argument for going this year, which was echoed by the biggest transit advocates, is that Metro provides a basic public service and must be maintained. Alternatively the argument for going next year was that Metro needs to first implement the RTTF’s recommendations, essentially proving to the public and state that Metro is doing everything it can to become more efficient. I think both sides made good arguments, especially in light of the Senate and Governor Gregoire’s hostility towards transit.
During the next meeting RTTF members will hash this out so stay tuned.