King County exec proposes April vote on roads, transit

The Seattle TimesJanuary 14, 2014 

A1, 11.08.2002; Interstate 5 traffic backs up Friday evening in north Seattle. (Tony Overman/The Olympian)

TONY OVERMAN

King County Executive Dow Constantine on Tuesday proposed an April 22 vote on a tax measure to sustain current service levels at Metro Transit and to support county and city road departments.

County voters would decide whether to increase sales taxes by a tenth of a penny per dollar and to enact a flat $60-a-year car-tab fee, for 10 years, if the Metropolitan King County Council adopts his plan.

Together the new revenue would provide $80 million for transit and $50 million for roads the first year, the county predicts.

In addition, King County Metro Transit fares would increase 25 cents in March 2015. That would boost the top fare to $3.25 for a peak, two-zone adult trip through Seattle and a suburb.

King County has warned for months that without a new revenue source, Metro transit service would have to be cut by up to 17 percent — deleting 74 routes and changing scores of others.

County leaders in 2013 asked the Legislature to allow a county-only, car-tab tax based on a vehicle’s value; the Legislature didn’t act.

Key state legislators, notably Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom, D-Medina, have insisted that local transit taxes be yoked to a statewide highway plan, to prevent pro-transit voters from turning against gas taxes and highways.

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