In anticipation of a possible budget shortfall, the RTC is discussing the “600,000 Service Hour Reduction Scenario” issued to the committee as part of the debate over the King County Metro Transit Strategic Plan. Routes affected in the scenario include Queen Anne’s Route 2, which would be re-routed from its typical turnaround at the top of the hill to continue down Third Avenue West past Seattle Pacific University, and Route 45, which would be eliminated entirely.
The RTC is expected to pass the strategic plan in mid-June, said King County Department of Transportation spokeswoman Rochelle Ogershok.
“At that point, the full King County Council will pick it up for debate, so that’s where we’re at, still in the context of discussion,” said Ogershok. “It’s too early to tell how that’s all going to unfold and what the specifics of any reductions would be.”
The scenarios, as part of the strategic plan’s service guidelines, are designed to give the RTC and county council members a sense of how the guidelines would play out, but there’s a lot to be discussed and done before any such measures could be approved, said Ogershok. Assuming the strategic plan and the corresponding guidelines get approved, a separate move to make the actual cuts to the Metro Transit would have to be made.
“Right now these are planning examples, but at some point if we had to make cuts it would play out as part of the budget process and then there would be a separate proposal for actual service cuts that would need to be adopted by the council,” said Ogershok.
Also at play is a $20 car license fee to help fund Metro Transit that was passed by both houses of the state Legislature in April, signed by Gov. Chris Gregoire Monday, and is currently waiting to be approved by the county council.
“This new revenue tool could postpone the need for reductions,” said Ogershok. “It all comes down to the revenue situation.”
The measure would only be a temporary solution while King County continues to work on new options, like “a broader, statewide permanent fix for transit,” said Ogershok. A council decision on the legislation is expected to occur later this summer.