City buys additional service on eight high ridership bus routes
SEATTLE - Mayor Mike McGinn and King County Metro General Manager Kevin Desmond today announced the City of Seattle is buying more than 5,000 hours of added service per year through early 2016 on nine high ridership bus routes in Seattle. Using $750,000 in savings from the voter-approved Bridging the Gap Levy, the City of Seattle is able to help Metro increase evening and weekend frequency on high-ridership routes from 30 to 15 minutes or from 60 to 30 minutes.
"This one-time savings will help us make transit a better option for more people," said McGinn. "But there isn't any more money where that came from. I stand with mayors from across King County and Washington State to urge our legislature to pass the local transportation funding package we proposed to them in February, which includes revenue options that will help prevent a devastating 17% cut to Metro bus service."
"It's great to be able to add this service at a time of ridership growth," Desmond said. "Every bit counts, but solutions are still needed to sustain service for all of Metro's riders." As temporary funding expires and reserves are exhausted, Metro faces a $75 million annual shortfall.
Additionally, the pre-existing Metro Transit Now commitment providing 5,000 hours of 100% Metro-funded service would go into effect in February 2014 and fund more trips on the Aurora RapidRide E Line.
McGinn has also been working to address Metro's long-term needs. He brought together 47 mayors from across the state in the Mayor's Transportation Forum to propose a solution to local communities' transportation challenges. In February they agreed on a joint proposal that they brought to the governor and the legislature to provide cities and counties with new funding to support their transportation needs. In Seattle and King County, those options will help preserve and expand transit service, as well as tackle the road maintenance backlog. The proposal called for an eight cent per gallon gas tax increase, a Motor Vehicle Excise Tax option of up to 1.5% that counties could enact either by councilmanic action or public vote with options provided to counties for a specific level of MVET and method of revenue allocations, and expanding from $20 to $40 the vehicle license fee that can be enacted through public vote or councilmanic action. The state legislature is now in its second special session of the year and continues to debate a transportation funding package.
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