Seattle bus riders and County roads have been sorely affected due to bills that are in desperate need of attention.
Bus riders and County roads left in the dust after Legislature’s inaction to support sustainable funding for transportation
Senate Bill 6582 and House Bill 2751 are sitting on the shelf, leaving the future of bus rider commutes and the maintenance of County roads unknown. King County Executive Dow Constantine plans to address the County Council.
“The people of King County needed action by the state Legislature on a sustainable, long-term transportation solution, but for the third year in a row, they have been left standing on the curb,” said Constantine in a press release.
The local transportation revenue options bill, 6582 is still in process. Different from 6582, the House Bill 2751 contains an increase in the Transportation Benefit District vehicle authority from $20 to $40 upon approval of two-third majority of the council. Also in this bill is a countywide local-option motor vehicle tax of one percent.
“Despite having the votes and bipartisan support for ‘local-option’ bills to allow counties to ask voters for desperately-needed transit and road revenues, lawmakers failed to bring those bills to the floor,” he said.
Seattle bus riders and County roads have been sorely affected due to these stagnant bills that are in desperate need of attention.
After the expiration of the temporary Congestion Reduction Charge (CRC) that was enacted after a groundswell of public support, sustainable funding for transit is needed within two years.
Since the passage of the CRC, Metro has deferred devastating cuts to the Metro system that would have affected the commutes of four out of five riders.
Funding County roads across the state has not been revisited in the last 25 years; Constantine said it no longer works. Due to the state’s failure to address such funding, a sharp decline resulted in the layoff of 111 needed County roads workers in the last 2 years – a total reduction of nearly one in five – ensuring that only the highest-priority roads that serve the most residents will be fully maintained.
“As a consequence of the Legislature’s inaction, more roads workers must be eliminated, further eroding our ability to repair and maintain County roads in the unincorporated area. And once we let the quality of our roads system decline, it is that much more difficult and expensive to bring it back,” said Constantine in a press release.
Constantine plans to have a discussion with members of the County Council about how they will deal with the consequences of this legislative session.
“I appreciate the time and service of all the legislators who worked in good faith to find common-sense solutions for Washingtonians given the state’s difficult budget, including preserving funding for K-12 and higher education, and I applaud the Governor for her work to hold the Legislature's feet to the fire. But on transportation, the job simply did not get done,” said Constantine.