Metro bus riders can sound off on proposed cuts

Updated:

SEATTLE - King County Metro bus riders can tell the transit agency what they think about proposed service cuts Tuesday. 

Metro is holding a public hearing at 4 p.m. at Union Station, to hear riders’ concerns.

Metro faces a $75 million annual budget shortfall and warns it will have to cut service by 17 percent in the fall of 2014, if new revenue isn’t found. 

With the cuts, 65 routes would be eliminated and 86 routes would be reduced or revised.

The budget shortfall stems from the loss in tax revenue, during the recession.  Two years ago, the King County Council enacted a two-year, $20 car tab fee, after hundreds of angry bus riders lined-up for a public hearing, like the one scheduled for Tuesday. 

But that car tab fee expires in 2014, and the agency’s reserves will be tapped after this year, leaving riders in a lurch.

 Metro is asking for longer-term funding assistance from the county and the state, but nothing solid has come together yet.  Extending the car tab fee doesn't have much support in Olympia.

 Metro is expecting hundreds of people at Tuesday's hearing, so attendees are urged to get there early.