King County voters reject Prop. 1 Metro funding, choosing lower taxes despite looming bus service cuts
By Josh Altic
"Yes on Prop. 1" Campaign video
Despite creative campaign advertisements like the ones shown on the right, the Move King County Now campaign in favor of Proposition 1 failed to convince voters - who sided approximately 55% to 45% against the Prop. 1 - that giving the Metro system additional funding to avoid public transit service cuts was worth the higher taxes. Voters were, instead, sympathetic to the position of the victorious opponents, who argued that Metro needed to cut its costs and be realistic about its out-of-control spending rather than demanding more money from taxpayers. Proposition 1 would have imposed $130 million more in taxes per year on county residents in the form of a sales tax increase of 0.1 percent and an annual vehicle registration fee of $60.
Once it became apparent that voters had rejected Proposition 1, Metro officials announced that they would be proposing a 16 percent cut in bus services, which amounts to 550,000 hours. This is slightly less than the 600,000 hours in cuts proposed during Proposition 1 campaigning.
King County Executive Dow Constantine, after announcing the plan to cut service by 550,000 bus hours, said that he would continue to urge state legislators to approve more funding for the King County Metro system.
Ed Murray, mayor of Seattle, expressed disappointment at the results of the election, saying, "If we care about the environment, then transit has to win. If we care about the economy, then transit has to win. We are going to win before this is done. We have no choice."
Bus riding voters had varying reactions to this outcome:
Ellen Kildale said, "A cut in service could affect me and parking at my building in downtown Seattle costs $30 a day. It was probably rejected by people who don't ride the bus."
Cari Blount said, "I already ride the bus for 3 hours everyday, I don't want to be on it even more. It's a huge imposition."
Callista Marie Martinez, however, said, "I take the bus, but I'm not going to make people who drive go through ANOTHER tax hike. That's like building a bike lane and expecting people who drive cars to pay for it."