Metro bus budget woes may hit you in the wallet

by: Henry Rosoff Updated:

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SEATTLE, Wash. —

Frustrated and confused, King County Metro riders looked for answers at the North Seattle Community College Thursday night.

Mona Nelson was one of more than one hundred people who dropped by for answers.   Bus lines in her Jackson Park neighborhood will be among the 181 bus route that may be cut or changed in fall of next year.

Metro is facing a $75-million budget shortfall.

“We need a better funding system for Metro transit,” Nelson said.

Metro is hoping state legislators will allow King County to allow voters to consider a tax to fix the shortfall. 

The preferred option is a motor vehicle excise tax where all drivers have to pay $150 each year for every $10,000 their car is worth.

Nelson, and others at the meeting, favored the tax as a way to save their bus route.

“If you can keep people on transit, you’re going to have a much better commute in your car,” Nelson said.  “If we can sell it that way, I think things like that could have a chance of passing.”

Marty Minkoff of King County Metro could not say if a tax would pass.  However, he said information sessions like the one Thursday make clear what will happen if there’s no more money for Metro.

“[Voters] would know what they would be getting, or not getting,” Minkoff said.