King County Metro estimates 17 percent of bus service could be cut


SEATTLE - Officials with King County Metro Transit announced potential service cuts on Monday.

King County Metro Transit is facing a $75 million annual budget gap starting in 2014, and there are a couple reasons for it.

First, $32 million in mitigation funding from the state is running out.

The funds were for all the extra route changes and problems associated with the Alaskan Way tunnel construction, but the money is going to be gone before the tunnel is finished.

Another problem is the extra $20 car tab fee for transit, which was only a two-year stopgap measure and expires in 2014.

Metro is asking legislators in Olympia and King County Council for help coming up with a long-term funding solution.

Seventeen percent of bus service will face cuts and revisions if they cannot obtain a stable source.

On Monday, Metro officials met discuss funding solutions and which routes could be cut back or cut out completely.  

Sixty-five Metro Transit bus routes are at risk of being canceled, and service could be reduced on another 86 routes. Find a list of the threatened routes here.

“Our analysis shows that we should be adding service to meet growing demand, but the sad reality is that – without ongoing and sufficient funding – potentially one-third of our routes are on the chopping block, and another 40 percent of our routes face reductions and revisions,” said Metro Transit General Manager Kevin Desmond. “The result would be even more crowded buses, riders left at the curb, or people climbing back into their cars – something that would worsen the region’s traffic congestion and hurt the economic engine of the state.”

Metro operates 217 routes and is the ninth largest transit system in the country. It has a fleet of 1,400 buses that carried 115 million passengers in 2012, which was Metro’s second highest in ridership.