It will surprise no one that the King County Council sent a tax measure to the ballot yesterday that would prevent deep Metro cuts and raise money to work off some of the road maintenance deficit. It might surprise some of us that the vote was unanimous, including four Republican* councilmembers representing suburban and exurban areas of the County. From a Move King County Now press release:
“Our continued economic competitiveness is paramount,” said King County Council Vice Chair Jane Hague. “As a King County Transportation Benefit District Board Member, I cannot stand by and watch our infrastructure deteriorate.”
The April 22nd measure will authorize a 10-year 0.1% increase in sales tax and $60 vehicle license fee (replacing the expiring $20 CRC license fee) and would, if revenue projections are accurate, just about cover Metro’s deficit.
On the same day, the Council approved a 25 cent fare increase in March 2015, and required Metro to create an implementation plan for the low-income fare by June 1 of this year:
If an interlocal agreement is reached with the King County Transportation District for the distribution of voter-approved revenues, the fare would start in 2015 at $1.25 for eligible adults and the youth fare would remain at $1.25, with these fares rising to $1.50 in 2017. Absent the interlocal agreement, the low-income fare and youth fare would be set at $1.50 starting in 2015.
The eligibility threshold for the low-income fare would be 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, currently $22,980 for an individual. Adults in a family of four earning up to $47,100 would also be eligible.
*The Council is now officially nonpartisan, although four current members were originally elected as Republicans.