I participated in a media briefing at Metro Headquarters yesterday, which mostly described what dedicated STB readers already know: the $20 “Congestion Reduction Charge” (Vehicle License Fee) currently under discussion would basically solve Metro’s budget situation for 2012-2013, requiring no significant reduction in overall service, before then expiring and leaving Metro with a $60m budget hole. The hope is that the legislature will get its act together in that time and come up with a permanent funding source to plug the gap.
$60m translates to a 600,000 service hour shortfall, which does not include 350,000 hours of Transit Now service that’s already been deferred due to the recession, and hundreds of millions saved or replaced through labor concessions, squeezing layovers (thus reducing reliability), raising fares $1.00 over four years, new property taxes, and so on.
To get an idea of what 600,000 hours looks like, you can consult this spreadsheet (previously posted here), which is not a formal service change proposal, but a staff product intended to help politicians understand the level of cuts necessary.
The new news is that Metro’s fleet replacement surplus, raided to avoid deep cuts since the recession began, is in surplus mainly because there are 600,000 hours of cuts on the horizon. If all that service were to be preserved Metro would need in the ballpark of $100m in capital funds to buy buses for the extra service.
65 Replies to “Metro Budget Update”
I don’t think it would be wise to push a ballot item as merely “preserving service” (especially when it will only do so for two years) or create the impression that the easy efficiencies will not get enacted if the ballot item passes.
Indeed, I think it would be much better to just ask each of the Republicans on the county council what their price would be for a sixth vote. Give their district a RapidRide line or something. Anything short of preserving 40/40/20.
But the cost of putting the $20 tab on the ballot is money better spent in direct service provision. Amortize that cost into giving that service to the Republican county council member who provides the sixth vote.
When the Metro guidelines pass, they’ll be obligated to look at low-productivity service. If the CRC passes, it’s replaced with productive service; if it doesn’t, it’s replaced with nothing.
“Look at” ≠ “do.”
All recent experience suggests that, unless change is forced (by shrinking revenues, or by a major non-Metro-initiated construction event), Metro will make as few changes as humanly possible.
Where do you get the idea that, as long as there’s an infusion of cash capable of maintaining existing service, Metro will read the guidlines as mandate to make any immediate changes?
I get that idea because the guy ultimately running Metro, Dow Constantine, started this whole RTTF rigamarole in the first place.
Hmm… So Dow’s creation of
blue-ribbon committee“regional task force” to write down a bunch of stuff that was already obvious to anyone suffering Metro on a daily basis (with positive transit experience elsewhere as a point of reference) is what passes for visionary leadership in King County? I suppose only time will tell.
Here’s the rub, from this utterly exasperated Seattle resident and lifelong transit advocate:
When the TransitNow initiative came before the voters, I had lived in Seattle less than six months. I was still in the throes of my initial shock at what passed for public transit here, and at the public’s complacency towards it. But at the time, I still optimistically described Metro as “well-meaning but benignly incompetent.”
I didn’t have to think twice about my vote in favor of TransitNow.
Five years later, I would never vote for such a proposition again.
Not until Metro does away with paper transfers and exercises a modicum of fare enforcement.
Not until those 1/4 of Metro drivers who “didn’t get the memo” about rear-door exit are reminded that their job involves getting people places.
Not until Metro bothers to enact the stop diets that they themselves proposed more than a year ago.
You know, the ridiculously low-hanging fruit that would symbolically demonstrate that Metro respects its customers’ time and sanity.
I no longer describe Metro as “benign” or “well-meaning.” I don’t care what their press releases or their task forces say; their abject indifference is palpable every single day.
And I will not give that more money!
I am your challenge. Don’t tell me how Dow’s study makes it okay that my $36 fare increase and whopping sales taxes have yielded decreased (and consistently horrible) service or that “it could have been worse.” Tell me how and when I’m going to start noticing a reduction in the in the shitslog.
Life-long transit advocate, and Metro has lost me.
If you want to dismiss getting the Suburban Cities’ Association to unanimously approve the elimination of 40/40/20, that’s your prerogative, but I think that’s a big deal.
Stop consolidation is happening.
As for a lot of the other stuff, I agree that those would be good changes, but I don’t see your attitude as anything but impotent rage at the bus system that won’t make it better. If you want to see those changes, make a coherent plan to overcome the political forces that are preventing them, don’t trash the bus system out of spite.
Well said, Martin. D.p.’s whining is getting almost as tiresome as Norman’s.
For what it’s worth, AW, I do appreciate Martin’s lemons-of-lemonade counterpoint to my compounding dismay. But I do not appreciate having my exasperation legitimized at “whining.”
Martin, time will tell whether Dow’s RTTF consensus-building has any real transit impact. Elimination of 40-40-20 is a symbolic victory, but all its damage has already been done (and no expansions to which it would have applied are likely any time in the forseeable future). It’s not like he convinced the suburbs to accept cuts on a 40-40-20 basis, or to accept future fare increases on a percentage basis (rather than quarter-by-quarter, which has penalized urban riders more and further distorted the suburban subsidy picture).
The unanimously accepted RTTF recommendations are a set of sound, yet vague, principles, and we have no idea how they will be applied, especially if the car tab passes and the kind of massive restructuring we all know is necessary gets branded “not necessary.”
Also, while the political forces restraining transit (in general) in the Seattle region should not be wholly conflated with the system’s daily management deficiencies, you are wrong to deny a relationship.
My examples weren’t chosen at random. The daily nightmare that is the 44 still suffers from unexecuted stop deletions that were proposed more than a year ago. Ditto the nasty 8.
Drivers still grudgingly accept morning transfers at 4pm, and gleefully blow at all-night transfers at 7.
5 days ago, a new driver on the 17 skipped every stop on the Westlake-Dexter-7th reroute, refusing to let riders off and passing multiple waiting passengers up because the number “17” isn’t on those signs. When I pointed out his error, I got an earful of aggression back.
I’m tired of “the customer is always wrong,” even when he isn’t: http://metro.kingcounty.gov/up/rr/11-017-01_rt17_mercerstconstruction.pdf
Just last night, a 15-minute-late #15 driver, with a relatively empty bus and relatively little traffic on the roads, drove the whole way downtown at 15 mph, seemingly disinterested in making any green lights. I’m tired of “service≠respective your time,” and I am right to be tired of it.
And not long ago, VéloBusDriver wrote about how refreshing it is, in the “rear door exit is finally okay” era, to driver a route where regular riders head for the back doors instinctively. Well, we regular riders still get burned by the roughly 1/4 of drivers who didn’t get the memo, and who continue to loud-speaker shame us with “front door only after 7!” It’s hard to get consistent rider behavior from such inconsistent and ill-informed driver habits.
None of these are “political issues.” Yet to isolate sub-par system operation from sub-par system vision would be folly. Dow doesn’t ride Metro, and he has no interest in being a David Miller or a Antonio Villaraigosa, I think that is to all of our detriments. I’ve given $5000 to Metro in the form of monthly passes since I’ve lived here, plus untold amounts of TransitMaybe sales taxes. Again I ask, when will this county meet me halfway?
“Delegitimized as…” Obviously.
d.p., I think part of aw’s frustration with your comments is that while you have many (legitimate) complaints, we see no indications that you’ve tried to discuss them with Metro or your electeds. Continuing to rail against late buses and bad drivers on this blog isn’t very productive. We know these problems exist, and many of us have the same complaints, but having lengthy diatribes here is unlikely to accomplish much besides frustrating your readers.
David Seater, that’s the same feeling I get. Lots of good ideas but where’s the action? Not just action on the agency’s part but also the citizen’s. This is Seattle. If you want to change something get active and/or organize! An example on this blog would be someone like Bruce or Carl who emails or talks to people in the agency and tries to get answers or actions out of them. Maybe d.p. did but we’re not seeing it.
Two years will give us one session under a new governor, now that Gov. Gregoire is officially not seeking re-election. Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen’s paltry fundraising suggests she, too, is calling it quits. Even if she were to run again, she represents a tough swing district where we could help defeat her.
One session without those two in veto positions should make a world of difference for transit funding.
Except we are faced with the disastrous prospect of a Gov McKenna unless a courageous progressive steps forward and vigorously seeks the Governor’s office.
And to that, I introduce the following political MEME: You think Mr. McKenna is a nice guy and would be good for Washington State? Take a look at the real face of “nice guy” Scott Walker and the disaster he has created in Wisconsin. Do you want that kind of mess here?
It isn’t a foregone conclusion that Mr. McKenna would win. For one thing I believe Rep. Jay Insley might have something to say about that. He certainly has a better chance of winning than Gregiore would have if she’d run again.
In any case Mr. McKenna has made his views of transit quite clear when he served on the King County Council. The record speaks for itself and it isn’t pretty if you are a transit advocate. If Mr. McKenna gets elected I suspect the money currently going to Cascades improvements or even the operating subsidy for current service may be in deep trouble.
Aside from the debacle with starline and their repeated attempts to provide special sporting event service, why do you guys not like Mary Margret? Also, how do you know that you wont get someone worse for public transportation?
You don’t know you won’t get someone worse. You need to know who’s going to run for the seat first.
As to why we don’t like Mary Margaret? Find me a transportation activist of any mode other than cars who can find anything good to say about her. She’s been bad for bikes, pedestrians, and transit for a very long time.
Metro was projecting that sales tax revenue was going to go from $420 million in 2007 to $680 in 2015, an increase of more than six percent a year. And that was starting from the peak of the business cycle.
From the chart, it looks like Metro is still using the assumption that the recovery is around the corner, and then we will have 6% annual revenue growth in perpetuity.
I don’t think so.
“The hope is that the legislature will get its act together in that time and come up with a permanent funding source to plug the gap.”
That’s some seriously high-quality leadership from Metro and the council right there. Rather than make sensible cuts to the bus network (most of the priority one and two restructures in that document are long overdue) and using the extra funds to shore up future budgets until other tax revenue begins to pick up, their strategy is apparently to keep bringing Metro to the edge of a cliff, each time demanding a little more money to preserve the current system and avoid rocking the boat.
It’s worth noting that no transit taxing authority is likely to come out of the legislature unless it’s attached to a major roads package. This is going to put transit advocates in a horrible place when that time comes.
Transit advocates should be really fucking pissed off at Metro’s leadership and the county if this is, in fact, the way they plan to play it.
Me Too, Bruce. Here’s a comment made on this topic nearly two years ago.
It’s about 3/4 the way down ‘METRO IS BLEEDING CASH’
My admonishment continues that we seem to think that the magical tax ferry is going to put millions under our comfy little pillows overnight.
Your bus service is in decline and wishing it weren’t so doesn’t fix squat.
It will get worse.
You mean “Tax fairy”, right? “Tax Ferry” makes me think of a Washington State Ferry stuffed with cash, which while amusing and possibly a solution to our transit funding woes, is probably not the image you were going for.
Like many others, I am pissed off it’s taking so damn long to plug the holes in the dike (grammar mistakes and all). This started back in ’08 and it will be the equivalent of a BS degree, time wise, before the really big fat lady starts singing.
Even the graph above shows a reluctance to face the facts by robbing capital and reserves even more. This ‘kick the can down the road’ style of management by county execs is nothing short of malfeasance.
“This ‘kick the can down the road’ style of management by county execs is nothing short of malfeasance.”
Every economic recovery in recent times has been relatively quick so I suspect everybody involved keeps thinking that a recovery in sales tax revenue is “just around the corner”. Experience over the past 20 years or so would back this up (mostly). That said, it seems obvious to me that this “recovery” is different. We’re unwinding a 20-30 year debt binge and that’s going to take time and a lot of pain.
The Union and Metro appear to be on the same page. Hiring has ceased and Part-Timers are starting to pick up more work, which is helping out on the cost front a bit. FT drivers aren’t happy as a lot of OT has disappeared, but I suspect they’ll have plenty soon. Metro will continue to reduce the number of drivers until there is consistent OT available (cheaper to pay OT for some work as opposed to more benefits for a new PT driver)
As attrition takes its course and existing work gets spread over a smaller and smaller driver base, the cost situation will improve. I have no numbers to make a guess as to whether 2 years is enough time to get our numbers down without layoffs, but we’re heading in that direction.
As for other cost containment issues at KC Metro, I know cuts have been made but don’t know the full extent of what is needed. Perhaps others more enlightened (and less politically chicken than myself) could comment.
Though people spewing inappropriate language and being accusatory toward the transit agencies and government may have a point, I’d like to remind y’all that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
Though, for the life of me, I don’t know why anyone would want to catch flies.
“…which does not include 350,000 hours of Transit Now service that’s already been deferred…”
…but for which, let it never be glossed over, we have been paying for five years, and continue to pay, with no discernible benefit.
Some TN service has already been deployed, more is coming, and the tax revenue has certainly avoided further cuts.
Martin, we have discussed this before. Essentially none of the TransitNow service has been deployed well.
It was deployed according to 40/40/20. It was deployed according to public-private partnerships with no evaluation of cost-effectiveness or systemic benefit. It was deployed upon FUBAR routes like the 8 (and only at the very hours that the 8 is most uselessly traffic-logged regardless of frequency.
And RapidRide barely pretends to be that which was advertised.
I said “discernable benefit.” Can you honestly claim to have witnessed any tangible improvements in Metro’s capacity to function as a result of their chosen TransitNow deployments?
As for “the tax revenue [having] certainly avoided further cuts,” i defer to Bruce’s point. TransitNow was sold as an improvement, not an extension of the status quo. If Metro takes that money and continues to plod along with its grossly substandard, unsustainable service approach and operating procedures… well, I consider that theft.
There are new service guidelines, Bruce. Productivity tradeoffs should occur whether or not the CRC passes.
Right, but there doesn’t seem to be any mention of that on the graph. The chart and some of the things in your post seem to suggest that the discussion is proceeding based on the premise of keeping the number of service hours, and presumably, the basic network structure, the same. A far more interesting discussion would be how the CRC funding would play out with a ~300k restructure cut. How long then before Metro runs out of money?
Long-term, there is a need for more taxing authority for Metro. In the short term, we can do a lot of smarter things with the money we have now, and the money we’re likely to get from the $20 tab fee, and those increased efficiencies will put us in a much better place to argue for that authority.
Your presumption is incorrect, at least according to the people I talked to. The number of service hours doesn’t affect whether or not Metro employs the new productivity criteria.
Well that’s good, and if they are willing to contemplate serious restructures I withdraw my criticism to some extent. But my point is that if Metro is willing to perform the priority one and two restructures, they can — and they should — significantly reduce spending without significantly hurting mobility. Those graphs will look different in that case.
That’s true only to the extent that you think there aren’t other productive investments to be made in Metro service. Or if you’d rather have your $20.
There is a part of me that almost hopes the $20 fee doesn’t pass, if that’s what it takes to force Metro to do the long-overdue restructuring needed to operate efficiently.
The June 2011 cuts are a good start, as nearly all of them seem to have come from single-direction-peak-only routes, for which every trip requires a long deadhead. However, there is a lot more that needs to be done in this area. I could go on and on about this, but the spreadsheet detailing the proposed 600k cut seems to move in the right direction. I am especially glad that the planners are finally starting to take a hard look at which routes are actually important to maintaining a decent system and which routes are expendable, rather than doing something like blanket across-the-board cuts or eliminating service on Sundays.
While, of course, there would be some short term pain if the 600k cut were to take effect, in the long run, when the economy recovers, the routes that survived would run more frequently, while the routes that were eliminated would mostly be eliminated for good. The eventual result would be better service for everyone.
I don’t have a car, so it’s not my $20 anyway.
The priority one and two restructures do not amount to 600k hours — they’re not enough to avoid needing the fee. What I want to know is what Metro’s budget looks like with the $20 fee and a ~300k hour restructure cut. How long will they stay solvent? How does a less-than-600k cut affect the need for a capital reserve?
How many service hours could be cut through elimination of “one-seat” rides and either switching riders to other routes or just giving up on service in areas too expensive to serve? Last night’s 4:37 2 trip jaunt (225/4) gave me plenty of time to think about this again.
First trip: 225 to Eastgate park & ride. Full bus to Eastgate P&R and then 2, yes 2, passengers for the rest of the 225 to Overlake. This route is already going away so maybe folks are just giving up already???
Second Trip: 215 to North Bend. Reasonably full until Issaquah TC. Then 7 or 8 folks to Snoqualmie Ridge and then 2 homeless guys out to North Bend – One of whom really wanted the 209 which was about 15-20 minutes behind me. (Many of the 215 passengers were actually waiting for the 554 which never showed up – bad traffic?)
As much as we drivers enjoy the pretty scenery and mellow driving of these kinds of routes, I just shake my head at the inefficiency of it. I’ve commented before, here and here on productivity enhancements. I’ve got a laundry list of such routes in mind but I’m not sure how many service hours could be gained from such cuts.
Those are exactly the questions I want answered, too.
I’d love to see your route laundry list, Velo.
At the same time, I realize easy cuts remain, like cutting the paper transfers from two hours to one.
Some capital expenditures could provide significant reduction in service hours. Since the legislature granted the authority for the congestion fee, after we whined about the state reneging on its agreement to allow local funding of downtown capital infrastructure, it might be a good idea to spend some of this money on that infrastructure.
As I’ve said before, it’s time to convert 3rd Ave from a mixed-use street with buses doing the Lacrame, into a busway with center bays. Line up the bays with the tunnel entrances and wire a bunch of ORCA readers. Post good directions to the mezzanine TVMs, and ban payment by cash through the length of the CBD.
Since the need for more buses is based on how many buses are needed during peak, streamlining the 3rd Ave Busway for rapid movement during peak should provide some significant reduction in service hours needed to maintain the current level of service.
“I’d love to see your route laundry list, Velo.”
Those comments, and the discussion around them, hit on a lot of my ideas.
Basically, I’d bin just about every single-seat underutilized route out there and beef up service on cross town routes linking Transit Centers with housing, shopping, and other destinations. The 245 & Eastgate TC is a great example. Parts of the 210, already serviced by other routes, would be fairly well served by a 212 + Transfer as well.
There are also examples on heavily used routes such as the 71, 72, 73. I haven’t driven those enough to have a good feel for alternatives but consolidating the 71-73 into a single trunk route between Downtown Seattle and Roosevelt, basically the short 73, is the probably the way to go. Other existing routes or reorganized routes could fill in the balance.
(Sorry I don’t have more ideas. The coming reorganization of Eastside service does some of this but probably not all. The 210 is untouched)
Politically, it’s risky – We all know people love their one-seat rides. But it’s obvious we can’t afford that luxury any more. Long term we have to figure out how to make transfers work and make them *feel* like they work. That’s a tough problem, but I found a glimmer of hope during OBS training yesterday in the form of a mysterious button called “Connection Protection”. The trainer said we won’t be using that for “a couple of years”. The system is designed around “Taker” and “Feeder” routes. Heading into Seattle is no big deal – you just hop on your 271 or 245 headed to Eastgate and jump on the first 212 that comes by (about every 7-10 minutes). The reverse trip is much more difficult. With this system, the driver of the 245 in the afternoon can sit at Eastgate, hopefully with an appropriately scheduled transfer time, and hit the button to get a list of incoming routes. A screen comes up with all the connecting routes, time to arrival, and instructions to “Wait” or “Go” if the incoming route is closer to the bus behind you. Looks cool and it’s got me thinking but there are a lot of details to iron out.
The plus side is that the new OBS takes a lot of the fiddling we drivers do out of the system, such as sign codes, fare zones, and even DSTT Hush mode operation and radio selection, so we’ll have more “cycles” to spend on safety and facilitating transfers.
I agree with the 73. When the north end restructure was done that created Routes 347 and 348, I am not sure why Metro didn’t take that opportunity to do something with the 73. I am not sure why it still needs to go to NE 145th St.
This is a significant structural deficit – as commented above, Metro was making some pretty optimistic assumptions about sales tax growth rates that very well may have not come true even without a severe recession.
Until the state constitution is amended to allow gas taxes to be used for transit, I think this will be an ongoing situation for years to come, as labor costs and diesel prices are only going higher.
We had a discussion a couple months ago, about whether the legislature could simply define buses and trains as “vehicles” in RCW, and thereby make them eligible for fuel-tax funding. Can someone find that post?
Or end the sales tax exemption for gasoline. So when you buy gas, you pay sales tax which part of it goes to transit agencies.
Would you have it figured into the price per gallon posted at the pump, or added on afterwards like purchases? Does any other state charge sales tax on gasoline? Would gasoline station’s have to upgrade their pumps with new software as a result to enact this?
RCW 82.08.055 allows prices with tax included to be advertised so nothing would change though the receipt will have to show the tax as a separate item .
California, Illinois, Michigan, Florida, Hawaii, New York, Georgia, and Indiana charge sales tax in addition to gas tax on gasoline.
If the pumps are anything like a POS (cash register) then there should already be a tax calculation function built in.
The tax would just be a fixed part of the price displayed at the pump. The station should be able to figure it out based on total receipts. There’s no need for special software in the pump.
Why no mention of other taxes that are available to transit, yet go untapped.
Looks like the B&O tax has never been touched. Sure it requires of vote, but that seems fair.
Do you have other potential revenue sources of which you are aware?
RCW 82.14.045 grants the authority to levy a sales tax for transit, and it expressly prohibits levying both a sales tax and any tax authorized by RCW 35.95.040.
This document is a good reference for the various taxes that can be levied by local authorities.
Thanks Matt. Missed that one
An indirect way around this would be to tap the gas tax for as many HOV improvements as possible. Using gas tax for good “bang for the buck” projects like these will improve efficiency across the board.
I also wonder if such projects would be Kosher under an Eyman 1125-style regime or if there is wording in there specifically preventing any non-SOV improvements. Last I heard, HOV improvements are considered a “highway” purpose.
There’s gobs of low hanging fruit out there that could improve the efficiency and attractiveness of transit and more HOV use.
A different governor and different committee leadership could mean the Tunnel/No-Transit project suddently becomes the Tunnel+Transit project, for example.
I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, HOV improvements can be great when they appear in the right places (e.g. westbound 520 just before the bridge). On the other hand, the state has built a lot of HOV lanes/ramps in locations are either in areas that transit doesn’t serve (or barely serves), or in locations that are awkward for transit to use effectively. For example, the 560 heading from Bellevue to the airport doesn’t get to use any HOV lanes until it gets south of I-90 and, even then, has to do a lot of weaving through the GP lanes to get to the freeway stops.
Furthermore, the 2+ HOV restriction is simply not enough to keep the lanes moving in times of congestion. A 3+ HOT lane that allows SOV drivers to pay a toll to use (with the toll set to guarantee a flow of 55 mph) seems much more effective.
The highway department also operates under the premise that any now HOV lanes have to be additional lanes – the result of widening the freeway at a huge expense, as opposed to the repainting of existing lanes. This makes HOV projects much more costly than they need to be.
Sounds like a lot of potentially worthy projects in need of planning, design work, and construction – a perfect highway use for gas tax funds.
3+ HOV/HOT lanes are the wave of the future. The sooner WSDOT/Olympia figures that out, the sooner we can stop pissing money down a rathole on GP lanes that just result in more congestion.
In order for HOT lanes to be the wave of the future, they have to start at least bringing in enough toll revenue to pay for the tolling equipment, including operation and maintenance. Otherwise, they may as well stay HOV lanes.
It would be cool if clogged HOV lanes could become transit-only lanes in the middle of the day, as directed by Smart Highway signs. That’s not something Eyman has gone after, since it isn’t a variable toll. (Why would Tim Eyman, of all people, hate market-based pricing?)
Still, the biggest emergency remains the lack of city council leadership in making 3rd Ave a 24/7 busway. That single act could probably take care of Seattle’s share of service-hour reductions. Heck, it might even take care of the full 600,000 hours, if the traffic signals can be tuned to the bus flow…. and save us from Carmaggeddon when the viaduct comes down, with or without Tunnel.
BTW, we have only two Seattle City Council races on the primary ballot. I’d like to request that Michael Taylor-Judd be considered for endorsement by this blog. He looks like one of the few non-politicians running, he is the only DBT opponent in his race, and he has stated on this blog that he does indeed support more density around rail stations. He gets bonus points for reading this blog, I hope.
Let’s try that link to Michael Taylor-Judd’s campaign website one more time. Doh!
Remember kids, test your links before you post.
Brent, if HOT lanes increase the throughput of the highway, they may be worthwhile even if they are not revenue neutral or revenue positive. Compare to the cost of building a new lane.
I’m not sure it makes sense to dynamically change the capacity requirements of HOV lanes. People get habituated to the HOV requirements, and you want to know if you have enough people for your carpool before you start out. Just increase the HOV occupancy requirement over time when the lanes don’t meet performance standards (has WSDOT ever done this?). Eventually, you’ll get to HOV+6 which effectively means transit only. Then take another GP lane for HOV+2.
Thanks for the link and support, Brent!
By the way, I’ve been reading this blog for a long time… but I use an alias. :-)
Brad Meacham and I are getting smacked around pretty hard by labor and party organizations over our anti-tunnel stance, and we could use some backup.
Tim Eyman hates market-based tolling because Tim Eyman’s constituents are people who don’t want to pay a cent more than they now for anything under any circumstances. Eyman’s supports sometimes claim he’s a good-government libertarian, but he’s actually a damn-the-consequences populist.
That’s part of the CTAC III conversation going on now in Seattle. How can the City spend $$ to make Metro’s existing service hours more efficient?
There is no bus service that metro operates that only costs $100/hr. And you’re telling us that even if they had the money they need another $100 million to buy the buses since the capital replacement fund has been raided?
Washington state needs to change its unfair tax structure and to create a fair and balanced Asset Tax, including that on Intangibles. It also needs to rectify any imbalances in assessed property values especially those benefiting the most for being near prime density.
I oppose this fee.
Good luck with that, John.
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