A letter from King County Executive Dow Constantine and four Councilmembers (Balducci, Dembowski, Upthegrove, Kohl-Welles) expressed support for the Seattle Transportation District (TBD) effort, while pledging to pursue a countywide measure “at an appropriate time.”
The letter is delicately balanced between applauding Seattle’s effort to maintain service, while stressing the need for a regional measure “to provide the greatest mobility, equity, economic, and sustainability benefits.”
It specifically mentions the importance of “the equity and sustainability goals included in King County Metro’s Mobility Framework,” the agency’s (quite good) service allocation formula.
And then it makes its offer:
We are available to engage in discussion now, as you develop the measure to be sent to the voters, and after November, to ensure that options remain open for a countywide measure before the next Seattle Transportation Benefit District expires. When that time comes, we understand that plans for a countywide measures would need to maintain, and preferably enhance, the transit services and equity and access initiatives provided by the Seattle Transportation Benefit District, while merging them into funding for the wider regional system.
While this letter is far from settled policy, and four Councilmembers do not constitute a majority, a source suggests that most of the Council supports it.
The “equity and access initiatives” presumably refer to some last-mile programs and the “ORCA Opportunity” youth ORCA card program. As the latter is mostly a way to abolish the youth fare for Seattle residents only, the easy way to execute at the County level is simply to eliminate it county-wide.
But Seattle has to structure its measure correctly to accommodate a future County measure. Transportation Chair Pedersen’s staff did not take an opportunity to comment yesterday.
Seattle’s Council will take up the legislation Monday.