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WSDOT Comes Through with Metro Mitigation Funds While Larger Cuts Loom

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Photo: Oran Viriyincy

The transit tempest brewing on the horizon tempered slightly on Friday when WSDOT announced that it will continue the SR99 Metro mitigation funds through the end of 2015 – the currently scheduled opening of the Alaska Way tunnel. This funding will keep King County Metro buses on the SR99 corridor for an additional 40,000 hours annually, greatly improving reliability for riders connecting between West Seattle, Ballard and points in between.

While this is undoubtedly good news, Metro riders - and anyone who benefits from Metro's congestion reduction effects - should not lose sight of the larger funding cuts looming for all riders in July. King County's temporary car tab funding authority expires this year and the legislature failed to reauthorize it, forcing a potential cut of 600,000 annual service hours. In order to prevent these devastating cuts, King County is turning to "Plan B" – a local funding measure to create of a transit benefit district across King County.

Under this option, voters will determine on April 22nd whether or not to save Metro service for all with a new $60 vehicle registration fee and a 0.1% sales tax increase. Metro riders would also pay an additional quarter per ride starting in 2015, though low income riders will see their fare drop to $1.50. Have an opinion on the proposed Metro cuts or the ballot initiative? Tell us in the comments!

Daniel Diiulio is a civil engineer and current graduate student at the UW; he considers bicycles vital to humanity's future prosperity. Follow him through the streets of Seattle here.