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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

It's Time for Plan C: A Seattle-Only Transit Solution

Posted by on Wed, Apr 23, 2014 at 1:21 PM

In the face of Proposition 1's apparent defeat at the ballot, a group called Friends of Transit has announced a new plan to save Metro bus service, one that people have been whispering about for a long time: a Seattle-only tax for Seattle-only transit service.

Saying via press release that "Seattle will grind to a halt if we don't act fast to save buses," Friends of Transit founder and longtime transit activist Ben Schiendelman says the group plans to file an initiative by the end of the week, to get on the November ballot, that would raise up to $25 million a year with which to buy transit service from King County Metro for routes within Seattle city limits.

The measure would raise Seattleites' property taxes by 22 cents per $1,000 of assessed value for the next six years, and that money, says Friends of Transit, should be able to reverse most of the cuts that Metro plans for Seattle. (A quick table of those cuts can be found here.)

Goldy wrote about what people were calling "Plan C" (Prop 1 was Plan B) back in December; it wasn't anyone's first choice, since it leaves people outside the city starved for transit. But now the county-wide plan has failed.

So: Too bad, suburbs, many people are saying now. Or at least: We have to save the city first.

How would this plan work, exactly? From the press release:

Revenues would be collected by the City of Seattle and used to purchase service from King County Metro. Seattle currently buys approximately 45,000 hours of bus service from Metro using revenues generated by the Bridging the Gap property tax levy, approved by voters in 2006.

We'll have more as soon as we know it.


Comments (91) RSS

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Kinison 1
Yeah ignore the fact that projected tax revenue is 32 million.…

Just throw Metro 25 million more a year, dont ask any questions.
Posted by Kinison on April 23, 2014 at 1:34 PM · Report this
Let's do this, and maybe also implement some kind of congestion charge for vehicles registered outside the city, a la New York's proposal:…
Posted by Subdued Excitement on April 23, 2014 at 1:37 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 4

Scr3w the suburbs!
Posted by Will in Seattle on April 23, 2014 at 1:39 PM · Report this
(1) It seems to work fine for Boeing.
Posted by maddogm13 on April 23, 2014 at 1:43 PM · Report this
fletc3her 6
@5 Well, Boeing gets billions in tax breaks and puts it directly into executive bonuses so it's a bit apples and oranges. As long as the money is being funneled to the oligarchs no harm no foul, but if the money is being used to provide better transportation, how dare you!
Posted by fletc3her on April 23, 2014 at 1:50 PM · Report this
Lew Siffer 8
Friends of Transit? Who the fuck are these people? Nothing in the "about" section. My guess is transit drivers.
Posted by Lew Siffer on April 23, 2014 at 1:58 PM · Report this
Can we just ask the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation? We are quickly becoming a third world country in many respects.
Posted by SPG on April 23, 2014 at 2:02 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 10
@6 is correct
Posted by Will in Seattle on April 23, 2014 at 2:03 PM · Report this
Twilight Sparkle 11
This is hardly good news for the working poor who commute because they can't afford hosing in the city where they work.
Posted by Twilight Sparkle on April 23, 2014 at 2:27 PM · Report this
treacle 12
Here we are, an international city, a major port town, being fucking knee-capped by school-boy politicians and their petty, vindictive politics.

Peoples' actual daily existence being diminished, their lives used as pawns is some farcical political chess game with no positive outcome possible.

Irresponsible, asinine, and unconscionable.

Transit should always be a fundamental part of the operational budget. That we had to resort to a regressive self-tax (car tabs) to stop cuts is unbelievable.
Posted by treacle on April 23, 2014 at 2:31 PM · Report this
King County is about to learn who really subsidizes their roads and transit spending: Seattle. And Seattle is about to take their ball and go home, leaving everyone else stuck.

Ask Seattle to pay a car tab and they'll say no. Any other tax? Done deal.

Once this precedent is set with transit, it's only a matter of time before Seattle does the same with education (universal preschool is coming), mental health, etc.
Posted by politickling on April 23, 2014 at 2:31 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 14
What, if anything, is going to prevent Metro from cutting Seattle routes further to prevent cuts to the suburbs, while still taking our money to "preserve" our service? Just curious.
Posted by keshmeshi on April 23, 2014 at 2:35 PM · Report this
@13 not entirely true there are plenty of townships in King County (Renton/Shoreline/Edmonds/All of the Eastside) that are able to pay for there roads/schools without begging to Seattle, Prop 1 went about this all the wrong way from the start and the us v them schtick is getting a little old. You cant possibly expect people in the outliers of King County to actually agree to an increased sales tax and car tabs on a service they never use.
Posted by g2000 on April 23, 2014 at 2:41 PM · Report this
Fnarf 16
@15, they do use it, though. Even people who have never set foot on a bus in their lives use bus service every day, because every one of those buses scoops dozens of cars off the road in front of them.

It's stupid and short-sighted.

Seattle going it alone is a tempting idea but the city boundaries are artificial ones that have no impact on economics and people. This is how Detroit happened, people. The region has to work together.
Posted by Fnarf on April 23, 2014 at 2:47 PM · Report this
"We are quickly becoming a third world country in many respects."

@9 SPG is right. Seattle is becoming a third world country. Just today I was only able to count three artisinal food trucks selling grilled cheese sandwiches!

Posted by Jeff on April 23, 2014 at 2:48 PM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 18
@14 what? Presumably this initiative will be, you know, a contract. "Seattle gives the County $x for $y service hours on $z routes." How is Metro going to just take that cash and do whatever with it? That's ridiculous, if that's what you're asking. It's not like we're going to possibly vote in +$10,000,000 in tax revenue for transit and then hand it to Metro and say, "We only want 5% of that, spread the wealth around." No one in their right mind would propose or authorize that in this situation.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on April 23, 2014 at 2:49 PM · Report this
dan10things 19
We need to fund mass transit, but as a homeowner and a bus rider, I'd rather just pay more for my bus pass than $750 in property taxes.
Posted by dan10things on April 23, 2014 at 2:49 PM · Report this
@15 Yeah if there's one thing that 520 and I-90 traffic shows during rush hour it's that nobody on the Eastside or Northside is interested in coming into or out of Seattle.
Posted by madcap on April 23, 2014 at 2:51 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 21
@11 tough - should have thought about that before!
Posted by Will in Seattle on April 23, 2014 at 2:51 PM · Report this
@11, @21 Yeah while I feel for the poor stiffs who rely on public transit to get to their jobs from outlying areas, maybe it's time for them to have a discussion with their anti-transit neighbors. Or, you know, just lose their jobs and cost their municipalities even more to support them.
Posted by madcap on April 23, 2014 at 2:53 PM · Report this
Kinison 24
@9 Unlikely. Theres a recent interview about him and one thing he frowns upon is throwing money at a problem. Bill Gates, while super rich, would rather see Metro work more efficiently than anything else.
Posted by Kinison on April 23, 2014 at 2:54 PM · Report this
@22 Nah, fuck using this for more road funding. I can weather some pot holes riding on the buses.
Posted by madcap on April 23, 2014 at 2:55 PM · Report this
@19 you said it. When the fuck are we just going to get a sensible, progressive tax on car values? Cars are taxed based on their estimated average resale value. Those driving high dollar cars (including the SCCC international students driving their $300k Aston Martins around) get to pay out the ass to keep the roads clear.

Why do our only possible funding sources seem to be regressive sales taxes, flat car tabs and property taxes which pinch the working classes more and more? This shit is rigged.
Posted by gatecrasher on April 23, 2014 at 2:56 PM · Report this
... unless they want to use road funding for more transit-specific uses, like bike lanes, bus-only lanes, light rail, etc. I can get on board with that.
Posted by madcap on April 23, 2014 at 2:58 PM · Report this
@ 4 Hey plenty of us out here voted for Prop 1, no need to generalize. That being said this is probably best for now and looking at the cuts the suburbs aren't too badly affected.
Posted by dkjndmsahksdhksal on April 23, 2014 at 3:00 PM · Report this
dan10things 30
Woops, my math was off by a decimal point, $75 a year more in my property taxes isn't so much. I still think pushing it on homeowners seems wrong though. I ride the bus, I'll pay more for my pass, and at least taxing tabs seems more in line with where the money comes from and goes.
Posted by dan10things on April 23, 2014 at 3:02 PM · Report this
#26: Why? Because the state and county, and the city, have no consistent revenue streams or income tax. Why? Because the same fiscal conservatives who are whining about the regressive tax in the form of car tabs are the same blowhards who fight tooth and nail to prevent creating a sensible tax structure. The same people who oppose income (progressive or otherwise) taxes and who oppose ever increasing revenue for anything, who believe in a pay-as-you-go system, have prevented us from creating a steady revenue stream, or a consistent (annually adjusted) funding source for transit. It's the anti-tax ideology that has led us to relying on regressive taxes. Money has to come from somewhere, don't it?
Posted by Jizzlobber on April 23, 2014 at 3:04 PM · Report this
Plus people in the burbs mostly use Sound Transit
Posted by dkjndmsahksdhksal on April 23, 2014 at 3:04 PM · Report this
@22 the road repairs in my understanding of the prop were for unincorporated king county which although I do not get out there that often based on the rest of King County that is not Seattle does not nearly have the same problems with roads that we do in Seattle. The only way they were going to get the rest of King Co to vote for this was the hope that the road-repair olive branch would appease enough voters. But 40% of revenues after "admin costs" doesn't seem like a fair shake to me when those roads are probably not nearly in the same shape as they are in Seattle. I currently live in Shoreline and its nuts to cross 145th into the city the roads go from great to shit in 1 foot.
Posted by g2000 on April 23, 2014 at 3:06 PM · Report this

Hopefully the first step in Seattle taking charge of our own transit needs.

I didn't vote for Prop 1, but without a doubt I'll vote and volunteer for this one.
Posted by giffy on April 23, 2014 at 3:20 PM · Report this
Cascadian 36
I think a property tax as suggested with this initiative might have passed countywide. Car tabs are in a unique category of hated taxes. I think the reason is that they are paid once a year in a single chunk that is also inconvenient (it requires an additional transaction and it is linked every other year to an annoying emissions test). Using a tax on cars to pay for transit only (some minor road adjustments aside) is bad politics.

If this passes decisively, it could provide a better funding model for later transit projects. I still think it's better to stick to presidential year elections, but this is worth a try.
Posted by Cascadian on April 23, 2014 at 3:22 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 37

What's to keep them from not doing it? We pay them x dollars for y service hours on z routes, so what's to keep them from cutting elsewhere in Seattle while preserving service to the suburbs? Unless the new solution specifically precludes it, why couldn't they?
Posted by keshmeshi on April 23, 2014 at 3:22 PM · Report this
Sure, why not. Maybe with some messaging and a GOTV plan this time. I see people here are already going all Goldilocks about the exact funding mechanism, so that might be a good place to focus some communication efforts.

If this fails can we go neighborhood by neighborhood?
Posted by MovingOn on April 23, 2014 at 3:29 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 40
@37 landmines remotely triggered and connected to the videocams that you think are turned off, of course
Posted by Will in Seattle on April 23, 2014 at 3:38 PM · Report this

Why not go all the way?

Ditch Metro, (and King County).

Form the Seattle Transit Authority.
Form Seattle County
(better yet, split Seattle into seven new cities by district)

Use SoundTransit for all regional trips and long distance rail.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on April 23, 2014 at 3:44 PM · Report this
Reverse Polarity 43
Metro should have pushed for a property tax rather than a car-tab tax in the first place. We've seen over and over again that taxes on car tabs are incredibly unpopular, and are somewhat regressive. Property tax, on the other hand, is relatively progressive, in that generally the wealthy that live in expensive houses pay more in property tax than people who live in lower priced housing. As long as the cause is popular, voters don't seem to object to property tax increases nearly as much as they object to car tabs.

That said, going it alone is kind of dumb. It would help in-city routes, but would gut outlying routes. This is no help whatsoever to the hundreds of thousands of people who live outside of Seattle city limits and commute in to the city every day. Rush hour is about to get exponentially worse, and saving a handful of Seattle routes from the chopping block won't help.
Posted by Reverse Polarity on April 23, 2014 at 4:07 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 45
@43 we call that "consequences"

Get used to them, because the suburbs are dying
Posted by Will in Seattle on April 23, 2014 at 4:12 PM · Report this
redbelt 46
Wow, Seattle mass transit has really gone down hill since I left in 2010. Y'all got rollerblades?
Posted by redbelt on April 23, 2014 at 4:14 PM · Report this
@ 45 Suburbs are dying? Another hipster comment without proof offered. They seem fine to me.
Posted by dkjndmsahksdhksal on April 23, 2014 at 4:34 PM · Report this
kk in seattle 50
SDOT concluded as follows:
Transit at the regional level—particularly King County Metro bus service which is and will remain the predominant service type within Seattle—has below average cost efficiency (cost per hour), productivity (boardings per hour), and cost effectiveness(cost per boarding) compared to the peer group.

I expect more voters will be persuaded to hike transit taxes when SDOT can draw a better conclusion.
Posted by kk in seattle on April 23, 2014 at 4:48 PM · Report this
I keep hearing from the progressive wing that bicycles are a cheap, healthy and planet saving transport option. Why not ride bicycles instead of the bus?
Posted by Homple on April 23, 2014 at 4:49 PM · Report this
Jubilation T. Cornball 54
According to this formula, my property taxes would go up about $85 a year. Short of complete malfeasance on the part of KKM (which I do not believe can be proved) there is no argument on earth that would keep me from voting yes on Plan C. I don't even ride the bus but I'm not myopic or churlish enough to think that robust transit isn't important to this city for people who do for reasons of economy, convenience, convition or what have you. I also happen to think it's important to the suburbs but if they themselves do not, who am I to say it is...let them languish. Let's save the city transit first.
Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball on April 23, 2014 at 5:07 PM · Report this
Jubilation T. Cornball 55
LOL King Kounty Metro ... I mean KCM :)
Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball on April 23, 2014 at 5:09 PM · Report this
I've already signed up to volunteer. This *isnt* the best solution in the world(WA ST paying anything for transit operations is), but its a damn sight better than losing so much service. And if Oly continues to be the only state legislature in the nation that completely refuses to fund transit service, I guess we will just have to go it on our own. Maybe they wont be smiling when their new highway heavy budgets dont get approved because we dont need them anymore. A man can dream right?
Posted by JonCracolici on April 23, 2014 at 6:00 PM · Report this
Based on voting patterns, I think Seattle+Shoreline would work pretty well.
Posted by david jw on April 23, 2014 at 6:07 PM · Report this
Steven Bradford 60
Why can't we also run a state initiative to kill the waterfront tunnel? So what if a lot has already been spent? A lot of money had already been spent when the anti-transit interests forced vote after vote to finally kill the monorail.

Now is the perfect time to do it.
Posted by Steven Bradford on April 23, 2014 at 9:07 PM · Report this
Seattle just needs to secede from Washington State entirely.

Problem solved. Given the millions that are siphoned off into preppy suburbs and backwater inbred Spokanistan environs, we should be awash in tax dollars.
Posted by NineOneFour on April 23, 2014 at 9:55 PM · Report this
Time for higher fares - for weed buses! Heck, you can get a contact high on lots of routes already! @43 If Seattle can partially fund Metro service on its own, it will prevent the state legislature from having the last laugh.There has to be some way to get the legislature to address the many transportation needs across Washington state!
Posted by pat L on April 23, 2014 at 10:06 PM · Report this
sleet01 63
@47 Do you or any of the other vigorous nay-sayers, here or in the other thread, have any references of any kind to support their claims that ST/KCM is poorly managed, financially speaking? I'm not saying you're wrong, just haven't seen any links or references of any kind. Just lots of rhetoric.

So for the only negative reference I've seen at all was provided by kk_in_seattle (#50) with this SDOT peer review piece from 2010:…
Posted by sleet01 on April 24, 2014 at 1:37 AM · Report this
On the one hand, I'll pay higher property taxes so I and the rest of my city can get to work on time. On the other hand, the divide and conquer strategy is working very well. Keep the suburbs thinking and feeling different than the urban areas, and it becomes true.
Posted by chadlupkes on April 24, 2014 at 6:12 AM · Report this
Oh, and before anyone gets the wrong impression, I hate this. I have family in the suburbs who NEED the buses to run in their areas because they're nowhere near a route. Now they won't be for another few decades. I find the vote result on Prop 1 to be completely unacceptable. But I don't see a solution.
Posted by chadlupkes on April 24, 2014 at 6:14 AM · Report this
63 you need some more proof ? Really???? Look around at the money spent on electric signs that no one cares about. Buses that have fancy new feel good green ideas that have not been proven and yet cost millions more that just buying a fleet of run of the mill buses. Yet they leave the locomotives running in Everett 24/7 even on the weekends to power the sounder trains. Oh and sounder trains going north at 65 grand per rider subsidy to a station built in Everett with lousy parking and access for the commuters who leave to the north pure stupid politics . Need more? How about a toy trolley to the airport yet a person in ballard cannot take luggage to the bus to go downtown to get on the toy trolley so tell me again why I should pay more.
Posted by behappy on April 24, 2014 at 6:48 AM · Report this
sleet01 67
@66: So, that's a no, then? If you've got references, I'd love to see them, but you don't seem to.
Posted by sleet01 on April 24, 2014 at 7:04 AM · Report this
Ignatius O. 68
@67 The sad reality with political reactionaries. They care little about actual expertise. Behappy may or may not know that a metrobus getting a low income worker from their home in burien to their job in west seattle is paid for from a different pot than rapid ride or sounder. But he certainly doesn't care, and is no more willing to negotiate in good faith than Ted Cruz is.
Posted by Ignatius O. on April 24, 2014 at 8:29 AM · Report this

Your comment is all over the place. Some responses:

1) Every transit advocate I know of knows that Sounder North is a wasteful boondoggle. They can't kill it for political reasons. I wish we could kill Sounder North and use the trainsets to enhance service South, but there are a number of legal obstacles to that. (Or, if they're not going to kill it, figure out a way to create a Ballard stop). Whatever we think of the unfortunate and wasteful situation with Sounder North, it has nothing whatsoever to do with Metro buses. Starving Metro won't fix any problem with Sounder North, obviously.

2) I have, on many occasions, traveled from Ballard to the Airport via public transit. There is no rule that prohibits you from taking your luggage on the bus.

3) You provide no evidence that "no one" finds those signs useful. I do. If I see my bus isn't coming for a while, I might choose to do something other than wait at the stop--run a quick errand, grab a coffee, etc. We provide similar signage for motorists about traffic delays, bridges, etc. Why do you assume such information isn't valuable to users?

4) As to the claim that Metro is particularly inefficient, it doesn't stand up to scrutiny. Metro's costs by most metrics are very similar to other transit agencies operating bus service in high traffic, high COL areas. Tacoma, Portland, Oakland, San Francisco, Los Angeles all have similar costs her revenue mile and per revenue hour. (Western systems that are moderately cheaper to operate than Seattle include Honolulu, Las Vegas, Denver and SLC.) But there's nothing unusual about Metro's costs: service delivered ratio.
Posted by david jw on April 24, 2014 at 8:44 AM · Report this
67 your right the few examples I give are of a system running just like a progressive liberal thinks it should. Because they know that money grows on trees and we need to waste more so we can go and pick more. Yes you keep voting for those great liberal progressives who tell you what you need like a tunnel that is smaller than the road it is replacing that cannot handle the traffic now and will help the working man HOW?
Posted by behappy on April 24, 2014 at 8:47 AM · Report this
69 well then if sounder north is a boondoggle get your people in charge to kill it , Simple use the money for your precious bus.

The bus drivers discretion is if your able to bring on luggage to the bus as they decide if the family of four with for bags will block seats or aisles. So in that case what should the family do then when the driver says NO? Which happened to a friend of mine with 3 kids and 3 adults from ballard .

I am glad you find the signs useful I am glad Metro has so much money to spend on things like that . Which proves my point they have plenty of money so thank you. If they did noit have plenty of money frills like that would not be spent. But the money tree must be picked for more .
Posted by behappy on April 24, 2014 at 9:01 AM · Report this
tainte 72
45, the suburbs are dying? houses out in my neck of the woods are being snatched up the day they're listed, and selling for 25-50k over the asking price.

keep fucking that chicken though.
Posted by tainte on April 24, 2014 at 9:26 AM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 73
@71 So, you're just going to ignore the fact that METRO DOESN'T COST MORE THAN OTHER CITIES?

Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on April 24, 2014 at 10:08 AM · Report this
72 the folks in Seattle have this idea that they are the center of the known universe and all revolves around them . its going to be fun watching as they figure out were done paying for their grand half baked ideas. the money train is drying up and if they want to waste their money leave me out of it
Posted by behappy on April 24, 2014 at 10:32 AM · Report this
74 - This is a post about how Seattle is planning on funding Metro ourselves. Go troll an Eastside issue or something.
Posted by Ballard Spur on April 24, 2014 at 10:53 AM · Report this
69 one thing you bring up is a Ballard stop for the train .. Silly idea as if you study efficient trains you find out the distance is not enough. No a better idea is the train all the way to Stanwood or even Conway that will do the most to cut down on driving to Seattle . You know how many Boeing employees could ride a train from Conway to Mukilito ? Enough to fill a couple of cars a huge park and ride next to the freeway instead of thinking folks will drive to downtown Everett to get on the train is just plain stupid they do not save money or time so what is the reason to do so. Just like toy trains to the airport we have big trains that are not where the people need them. So feel free to send metro your 60 bucks extra every year s
Posted by behappy on April 24, 2014 at 10:56 AM · Report this
75 thats a wonderful idea as you all seem to think the bus is a place to let people get out of the rain for free I am sure all those folks in seattle will not mind increased rents to pay the increase in property taxes to fund your bus is fine idea
Posted by behappy on April 24, 2014 at 11:31 AM · Report this
69 well then if sounder north is a boondoggle get your people in charge to kill it , Simple use the money for your precious bus.

Transit advocates don't control the Mayors of Mukilteo and Edmonds, sadly. Sound transit is a complex bargain between different municipalities and regions. "My people" aren't in charge.
Posted by david jw on April 24, 2014 at 11:50 AM · Report this
69 one thing you bring up is a Ballard stop for the train .. Silly idea as if you study efficient trains you find out the distance is not enough.

No, I didn't (although it is a good idea--you need volume to make a train a good investment, and a commuter line to the far North will have even worse numbers than Sounder North. Your theory about trains and distance is completely and insanely wrong; the most effective separate grade urban rail transit covers short distances that take a long time to travel by road. Ballard to UW and Ballard to downtown are great examples.). I was contesting your specific claim that, and here I quote you:

a person in ballard cannot take luggage to the bus to go downtown to get on the toy trolley

This is what's known as a lie. A person in Ballard very much can take luggage to the bus, and then get on a trolley downtown. I've done it many times myself when travelling to the airport. It's quite easy; I can't really fathom what you think is stopping anyone from doing it.
Posted by david jw on April 24, 2014 at 11:57 AM · Report this
79 so your telling me my friends who tried to get on the bus in ballard to go to the airport are lying ? I see so you took luggage what one small carryon? They had three adults three children and the driver told them they could not get on.They turned the driver in and were told he has the right to stop them under the rules which you can find on metro site . If luggage will take up seating or block the aisle the driver decides even if there is room he can state they will need the room later.So they had to call a cab to haul them . So the only one lying is you
Posted by behappy on April 24, 2014 at 12:37 PM · Report this
@6 & @10: Yep. Any ideas of how we can take their tainted oligarchical billions away for the better of all of us?
Posted by auntie grizelda on April 24, 2014 at 2:12 PM · Report this
I am in favor of transit, period. Even with some inefficiencies, for the time being, Metro is what we have. Of course, I want light rail, of course, I want Metro to be more efficient, and of course, and I want a subway. It takes forever to build those things around here, so right now, I'll support bus lines, even if I don't support Metro. I own a rather expensive home, and I'll be paying quite a bit more in taxes under this proposal, but we need this as a city.

Right now, we are growing in population and economically. Gotta have transportation to match, otherwise, we are just going to drown in our own traffic. I voted for the last plan and I will vote for this one. I am saddened it has come to this. In fact, I am disappointed in the folks who don't realize that with respect to transportation we are all in it together. But, we need to move forward. This initiative would be a step forward, although it would be way better if we could all work together on a comprehensive system. Even LA is now building transit like crazy. The fact that we are trailing LA is absurd.
Posted by GoHuskies14 on April 24, 2014 at 2:15 PM · Report this
@84: I fully agree. Especially when back in '62 the JFK Administration once offered the city of Seattle millions to invest in updating our infrastructure, just in time for The PNW Coming of Elvis, the 1962 World's Fair, and the I-5 expansion to the Peace Arch & British Columbia but voters said, "Hell, no!"
Now I-5's a parking lot, HOW many Metro routes will be cut, Big Bertha isn't going anywhere anytime soon, and our trailing L.A. is indeed, absurd. White collar criminally absurd.
Posted by auntie grizelda on April 24, 2014 at 2:25 PM · Report this
Only 48% of residents in Seattle are homeowners that pay real estate taxes, the rest rent.
Why should homeowners only be taxed?
Posted by Jason609us on April 24, 2014 at 3:16 PM · Report this
Ignatius O. 88
@86 Property taxes eventually get translated into rental contracts, although not perfectly, evenly, or in the short-term. So everyone gets hit by property taxes, albeit via a more progressive distribution of burden than that of a sales tax, or a flat car tab fee for that matter.
Posted by Ignatius O. on April 24, 2014 at 4:15 PM · Report this
Good point #86, haven't seen fact included so far
Posted by Sharip on April 24, 2014 at 4:21 PM · Report this
Ignatius O. 90
@89 Are you serious? Property taxes effect every commercial and residential property in the district where it is in force. Everyone pays some part of it, its just that it is more progressive than other possible revenues, such as a flat car tab, that hit the lower middle class much harder than the wealthy. You and @86 are either dense or trolling. (Probably the latter, Jason609us's account is only an hour old)
Posted by Ignatius O. on April 24, 2014 at 4:30 PM · Report this
dorimonsonfan 91
If enough people simply drop $60 checks in the mail ZERO routes will have to be cut. No one is stopping you. Seriously, if you support Prop 1 just mail checks to:

Metro Transit
201 S. Jackson St.
Seattle, WAS 98104-3856

Posted by dorimonsonfan on April 24, 2014 at 4:58 PM · Report this
This isn't a tax on single-family housing, its a take on property. Homes are worth a lot around here, so it will effect homeowners. But it effects every commercial, industrial, and apartment and condo property as well.

Ive seen some people saying that they dont want to pay hundreds more in taxes. In order to pay $100 you would need to have about half a million in property. The poster I noticed said that they would have to pay $750, which would mean they own $3.5M in property in Seattle. So doing ok.
Most people wont have to pay nearly so much, and we get to keep our bus service! And maybe, just maybe, we can tell Oly to stuff it next time they want to tax us to pay for a $300M highway out in the middle of nowhere. We wont need them anymore to keep the lights on.
Posted by JonCracolici on April 24, 2014 at 5:20 PM · Report this
MistySwamp 93
@Dan10Things - you don't get it. You won't be paying higher prices for bus rides, there won't be any buses - routes discontinued.
All because selfish people who want to drive and pollute the air don't want to pay more taxes... There are people that can't afford cars, or can't drive due to age, disability, etc, and what the fuck is all this money being thrown away for light raill??? No one is going to ride it because there won't be any buses to get to the stops! And they're selfish about their damn cars.
Posted by MistySwamp on April 24, 2014 at 6:31 PM · Report this
Ignatius O. 94
@91 I remember Dubya laying out this argument and cackling because he thought it was so clever. And I remember the sinking feeling realizing that the President of the United States couldn't work through the problems with a position that would embarrass a moderately clever high school student. So dorimonsonfan, congratulations, you are stupid in a way stupid people will think you are very clever.
Posted by Ignatius O. on April 24, 2014 at 7:52 PM · Report this
79 so your telling me my friends who tried to get on the bus in ballard to go to the airport are lying ?

I dunno, weird shit happens, but it sounds like BS to me. I've taken multiple large suitcases on the bus--and I've seen others do the same--dozens of times. I've never seen anyone get any resistance for doing so. So I have pretty extensive experience to the contrary.
Posted by david jw on April 24, 2014 at 8:35 PM · Report this
TCLballardwallymont 96
@92 "Ive seen some people saying that they dont want to pay hundreds more in taxes... Most people wont have to pay nearly so much"

It sounds nice when it's stated in this manner, but this is *another* proposed property tax. It all adds up. How much disposable income do you assume people with say, a $280k property in Seattle have? Are they automatically rich in your mind? Do you want to tax property to the point that home ownership really is out of reach for all but the wealthiest? The levy rate for me is already at fucking $10.30. You think it's no big deal to keep piling more and more on?

Seattle residents already pay and pay and pay in sales tax and in property tax. The term "progressive"... I think it does not mean what you think it means.

It is time for cost cutting, and it is long past time for efficiency within our public transit systems to improve, not for yet another tax.
Posted by TCLballardwallymont on April 25, 2014 at 2:18 AM · Report this
Im sorry if youre in dire straights financially, Ive been there. But the tax burden in Seattle is actually relatively low compared to other cities. And a property tax is certainly more progressive than a sales tax or a flat-car-tab tax. It's maybe not quite as progressive as a state income tax (which I would support), but the state constitution takes that option off the table for the immediate future.
Is that 10.30 a month? If this tax were to pass, and you own 280K, your monthly rate would go to $15.40 a month. It's not nothing, but it's also not a crazy amount of money to pay for our services. Its an entree + tip in Ballard.
Posted by JonCracolici on April 25, 2014 at 1:22 PM · Report this
Also, if you're for lower taxes, think of this in the long game way.

I think of it this way; if we raise $35M a year to get to say no to paying for a $200M highway between two towns with a combined population of 1/3 Capitol Hill. Anything we don't have to go begging to Olympia for is one less piece of leverage they have over us spending our money on our needs.

Seattle has had to pay out massive amounts of money to Olympia's transportation budget, which mostly gets siphoned off to other areas. Seattle has to go along because it has no other way to fund its roads and buses. But now we can pay our own way and say no to paying for massive unnecessary projects elsewhere. The proposed Senate Transportation budget had $6Billion dollars for new highways, mostly out east. The Army Engineer Corp rated Washington's rural roads as the best in the country, hands down. Meanwhile, Seattle's streets and buses are neglected, and our state is the ONLY in the country which doesnt fund transit at all.
Posted by JonCracolici on April 25, 2014 at 1:28 PM · Report this
I would like a good long look at which Metro buses are actually used a lot, and take some more common sense to the whole thing. Seems there are a lot of empty middle of the day services, where the commute time buses are too infrequent and always packed.
So couldn't we, say, put more buses on at commute times? And less regularly on the less utilized services at low-traffic times? Or is there something I'm missing?

I have looked at the proposal, and they're only half doing that. What the cuts are aren't the best options. Why axe a whole route, when you could axe the mid day service, and leave it running for commuters? Somebody should give me that job.. ;-)

I use the bus for work every day, the fare is only 2.25, I would pay 2.50, and raise the money that way, why make home owners pay for a service a lot of them don't even use?
Posted by Chandira on April 25, 2014 at 1:36 PM · Report this
TCLballardwallymont 100
@97 "Is that $10.30 a month?"

Levy rate (think property tax rate). The rate depends on neighborhood, quality, condition, size, etc of the property.… and/or… will let you look at rates in general (first link) and look at particular parcels of land to see their value and rate (second link)

Take assessed value, divide by 1000, multiply by levy rate for your property tax. So for me, about $2900 yearly / $240 monthly. In addition to mortgage, utils, insurance, maintenance, etc.

Mine is by no means the highest levy rate Seattle has to offer, but you can see how it really offends me to have property tax pointed to as a public funding panacea every time some part of our public works can't effectively manage their finances. Isn't killing off the middle class a bad thing for fucks sake? Will we be "progressive" enough when the middle class is completely gone?
Posted by TCLballardwallymont on April 25, 2014 at 2:30 PM · Report this
I understand your frustration, but Metro is not mismanaging their money. They have not been allowed a stable funding source for some time(thanks oly) and their budget took an enormous hit when the Great Recession ate all their sales tax. If we even had the taxes we had last year wed be ok, but they are expiring(thanks oly), so they need to find a revenue stream to keep up.
I didnt mean to belittle your tax position, I just didnt know what the 10.30 was supposed to signify. And sure, we do have a lot of levies around here, because of lot of taxes are just off the table(income for one). All in all, it would still only cost you $60 a year.
Posted by JonCracolici on April 25, 2014 at 3:48 PM · Report this
Everybody reading this (or having it read to them) knows there is an attempt to both kick out,and keep out,certain demographic groups in the entire Pacific Northwest.The Prop 1 vote is simply another step in that evil direction. --- ,
Posted by 5th Columnist on April 25, 2014 at 4:10 PM · Report this
That would require a depth of conspiracy that I just.... ok dude
Posted by JonCracolici on April 25, 2014 at 6:08 PM · Report this
@100 Wait, let me get this straight (bear with me I'm not from Seattle). You don't have to pay a state OR a local income tax, and you own a roughly $280K home (I believe this is right based on your numbers) and you are saying you can't afford to pay less than $3K per year in property taxes? Forgive me for not breaking out my violin.

Posted by ML77 on April 26, 2014 at 11:29 PM · Report this
No, fuck no. We NEED AN INCOME TAX. WE NEED TO KEEP RUNING INATIVES UNTIL WE GET ONE. Until then we're fucking over the middle class to help the lower class while the upper class just laughs. Try to buy a fucking house in Seattle, it's fucking expensive as shit, and this property tax is just going to get passed on to renters. FUCK THIS, INCOME TAX NOW!
Posted by j2patter on April 27, 2014 at 5:36 PM · Report this
Also increased housing prices is why more "well off whites" are moving farther south into cheaper minority neighbourhoods. Raising property taxes isn't going to help gentrification, it's only going to hurt it. Until we get an income tax we are just plugging holes on a sinking ship. Once 15Now is done I really hope it becomes IncomeTaxNow
Posted by j2patter on April 27, 2014 at 5:42 PM · Report this
TCLballardwallymont 109

Which part of "it all adds up, fast" did you not understand? As I asked before, do you assume that makes me rich? Do you assume I have loads of disposable income? Maintenance (thank god I'm fairly handy), utilities, insurance, mortgage, HOA, etc... Not being from Seattle do you picture a $280K home here as a mansion? You think I'm living in luxury, Jeeves serving me poolside?

Save your violin, but do realize that owning a home is moving from a middle class obtainable / sustainable goal, towards an out of reach ideal that only exists in the past.

3k here, 5k there, another 4k over there and all of a sudden home ownership is out of reach, not because you can't get a 30y mortgage for 280, but because (again, are you listening this time?) all the ancillary costs add up, fast.
Posted by TCLballardwallymont on April 27, 2014 at 11:04 PM · Report this
sleet01 110
@109 if only there were some reliable transit services so you could live in a cheaper neighborhood without having to own a car, like we did. Oh, wait...
Posted by sleet01 on May 1, 2014 at 9:31 PM · Report this

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