King County Proposes Revenue for Metro Transit
On February 10, the King County Council created the King County Transportation District, the separate taxing district that has the authority to generate revenue for transit, roads and other transportation projects.
The Transportation District Board unanimously sent to voters a proposal to raise revenue that would be directed toward Metro Transit bus service and County and city transportation projects, including roads.
The ballot measure will go before voters on April 22. If adopted by voters, it would:
- Increase the King County sales tax by 0.1 of a percent for ten years;
- Establish a $60 vehicle fee;
- Distribute 60 percent of the net revenues of the ballot measure to provide funding to maintain Metro transit service hours at current levels. If any funds remain after maintaining transit service hours, evenly split the remaining funds 50/50 between transit and unincorporated road purposes;
- 40 percent would go to cities for transportation improvements and the county for unincorporated area road purposes allocated based on population;
- Specify that the funds must be used for transportation improvement projects contained in the County’s, Cities’ or Puget Sound Regional Council’s approved transportation plans (as updated by the individual jurisdictions);
- Establish a low-income rebate program that rebates $20 of vehicle fee for vehicle owners whose household income is less than 45 percent of the county’s median household income.
In summary, the Transportation District unanimously approved a resolution to place a ballot measure before the voters to decide if they want to fund the financial gaps facing Metro Transit service and local roads. Without additional funding, Metro Transit faces service cuts of up to 17 percent and King County faces a roads maintenance funding gap of $115 million annually.