By Katie Wilson
In the November general election, Seattle voters will have one last chance to save our Metro system. Seattle Transportation Benefit District Proposition 1, if passed, will raise approximately $45 million per year to preserve most bus service in the city of Seattle and on some intercity routes by means of a 0.1% sales tax increase and a $60 vehicle license fee.
The Transit Riders Union urges you to vote YES on Proposition 1. Thousands of Seattle and King County residents depend on Metro buses every day, and we cannot afford to lose our service.
Climate change is accelerating, and our planet can’t afford more cars on the road.
At the same time, this is not a permanent solution. The proposed measure pushes the burden of funding public transit further onto working and poor people, leaves transit riders in the lurch throughout the rest of King County, and contributes to the fragmentation of what should be a unified regional mass transit system.
Even if the ballot measure passes in November, public transit in Seattle and King County will remain woefully underfunded. Fares are too high, service is not frequent or extensive enough, drivers’ schedules have been tightened to the point where they don’t have time to use the bathroom.
The Transit Riders Union is therefore calling upon the Seattle City Council to approve, in addition, two more progressive funding options for public transit: an Employee Hours Tax on business and a Commercial Parking Fee increase. This funding may be used to:
- Reverse the September 2014 service cuts or restore comparable service for those whose mobility has been reduced by the first round of cuts
- Contribute to the chronically underfunded Human Services Ticket Program
- Contribute to a buy-down of Metro’s new Low Income Reduced Fare from $1.50 to $1.00 or $1.25, as would have happened had King County’s Proposition 1 passed in April
- Roll back fare increases, making public transit more affordable and attractive for all
- Fix the schedules to improve drivers’ working conditions
- Increase, improve and modernize Night Owl Service
- Add new service
Please join us in the fight for affordable and reliable public transit for all!
Katie Wilson is General Secretary of the Transit Rider’s Union and a PSARA member.