by: Essex Porter Updated:King County, Wash. —
King County Proposition 1 will raise $130 million for buses and roads if voters agree to pass it, but it’s not an equal split. Prop 1 raises the sales tax by one-tenth of a percent and establishes a $60 car fee. The current $20 fee will expire, so the net increase is $40. The total revenue collected would be $130 million.
Sixty percent of the money is slated to prevent a 17 percent cut in Metro bus service, with 40 percent to fix roads.
The $50 million for roads will be spread countywide. It’s not nearly enough to cover the quarter-billion dollar cost of a new Magnolia Bridge in Seattle, or the $300 million in projects listed in Bellevue.
Asked whether a 50-50 split would have worked, Rob Johnson, of the Transportation Choices Coalition, replied, “A 50-50 split would have meant a reduction in bus service hours, which was unacceptable to a lot of local government elected officials.” He said that includes suburban mayors, even though they also need more money to repair roads.
Prominent Seattle property owner Faye Garneau has already contributed $10,000 to the campaigns against Prop 1.
“I don't think there needs to be any split,” Garneau said. “I think the whole thing is ridiculous to be perfectly honest. I think they need to live within their income.”
Supporters agree Prop 1 doesn’t make a big dent in the road repair backlog, but say it will help.
“Bellevue for example gets 5 to 6 million a year, and yeah, it's not enough to do everything that you want to do with it, but it certainly helps to keep the roads in relatively good repair,” Johnson said.
Ballots must be postmarked by April 22.