The Greater Seattle Business Association has joined with the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce to support the enactment of a temporary $20 congestion reduction charge. Dependable, reliable mass transit benefits employers and residents alike by increasing access to commercial and employment centers, reducing congestion and enhancing freight mobility. That’s why GSBA joined with a broad group of businesses, human and community service organizations, environmental organizations, educational institutions, and labor unions from all over King County to form the Transit Rescue Coalition and advocate emergency funding for King County Metro.
Over the past few years, Metro has taken many steps to increase efficiency and reduce costs. However, an annual shortfall of roughly $60 million remains for 2012 and 2013. The Metropolitan King County Council is considering legislation that would close this gap by enacting a temporary $20 congestion reduction charge.
What would happen without the funding from this charge? Metro has estimated that it will need to reduce its system by roughly 17 percent, eliminating about 9 million passenger trips each year. A preliminary example of how these cuts would translate to route eliminations and revisions shows that over 75 routes would be eliminated, and more than 90 routes would be reduced or revised. These cuts would hamper commuters’ ability to get to work and would adversely impact those who rely on transit as their sole or primary means of transportation. It is estimated that these cuts would add 15,000 cars to our busy roadways every day, putting more of our streets and highways in gridlock.
This week, the King County Council agreed to postpone a decision on the charge until August 15, giving all of us additional time to let them know how much support the emergency funding proposal has in our community. The coalition has submitted a letter to the council urging members to approve the fee by a supermajority vote. Join us in encouraging the council to keep our buses moving.