The Metropolitan King County Council this evening decided to give themselves more time before deciding on the fate of the temporary 2-year $20/car/year Congestion Reduction Charge (CRC). They will meet to discuss the matter again and vote on Monday, August 15. Jim Brewer, legal counsel, said that August 16 is the deadline to put the CRC on the November ballot. To put the CRC on the ballot that late would require 6 votes and an emergency clause.
Councilmember Reagan Dunn reaffirmed his position that he will not support councilmatic action (adoption without a public vote), “There’s no scenario where I’m able to accept passing this out of the council.” He might support sending it to the ballot if Metro continues to demonstrate additional efficiencies.
The public hearing, scheduled at 3 pm, began an hour late. Over two hours, over 50 citizens testified, most were in support of the council adopting the CRC with a supermajority vote. Only two spoke against it. After a brief recess, the council was scheduled to reconvene at 6 pm for debate and the vote. At 6:15 pm, the council was called back to the chamber, only to have Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer request an additional 20 minute recess to discuss “new information”. After 40 minutes, Councilmember Patterson withdrew her motion to allow more time to work things out and the meeting was adjourned.
Transit advocates at the hearing remain optimistic. There’s still time to convince the other councilmembers to support and adopt the fee.