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Thursday, October 23, 2008

County May Eliminate Bike Subsidy

posted by on October 23 at 13:16 PM

Amid all the talk about the so-called “bike bailout” included in the recently adopted financial rescue package (which is actually a tax break for employers who choose to subsidize biking to work), one employer—cash-strapped King County—is actually talking about eliminating a $20-a-month subsidy for bike commuters, for a total savings of $37,000 a year. That’s approximately .04 percent of the county’s projected $90 million budget deficit, which could cost several hundred county employees their jobs. The King County Council will consider legislation to eliminate the subsidy on Monday, November 3.

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Umm... I am sympathetic to the biking cause, but... Aren't you already saving a ton of money by not buying, maintaining and insuring an automobile? Just ride your bike. What's wrong with that? Do we need incentives for common sense?

I mean... I know we DO need incentives for common sense. I just can't figure why.

Magneto was right.

Posted by Matthew | October 23, 2008 1:27 PM

How about eliminating all free county employee parking and then leasing the spaces at market value? That would create a revenue stream and serve as an even better incentive to utilize alternate forms of transportation. It might even allow for the sale of parking lots and even more revenue. And, hey, if it means some people need to quit, then it would mean a reduction in payroll costs. Win, win, win, win.

Posted by kinaidos | October 23, 2008 1:33 PM

This post has nothing to do with Sarah Palin! You should be ashamed of yourself Slog homos. I'm pretty sure Sarah Palin hates bikes, no? She must be behind this somehow. Or Trig? Trig must have something to do with this.

Posted by Will | October 23, 2008 1:34 PM

The county is slashing stuff HARD. You're worried about your piddly bike subsidy, but the real news is human services cut in HALF.

Posted by Fnarf | October 23, 2008 1:35 PM

What free county employee parking is that? Certainly none downtown.

Posted by Paying a lot for a spot | October 23, 2008 1:38 PM

@2 Aside from Councilmembers and maybe department heads, there is no free parking for county employees. At least not downtown. The County's garage downtown charges market rates.

As for the subsidy, I am not sure why bikers should get it and not say walkers.

Posted by Giffy | October 23, 2008 1:41 PM

$90 million deficit.

Posted by keshmeshi | October 23, 2008 1:59 PM

$90 BILLION DEFICIT? Damn, we is in the tank, aren't we?

Posted by COMTE | October 23, 2008 1:59 PM

@1 made me laugh. seriously, your already subsidizing something that already has its own incentives and saves money. Would you hand out a 20 buck subsidy for using over the air TV broadcasts?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | October 23, 2008 2:01 PM

@6: the subsidy is available to walkers as well.

Posted by happy renter | October 23, 2008 2:09 PM

@10, No shit? I've been missing out on a free lunch!

Posted by Bellevue Ave | October 23, 2008 2:14 PM

@6, do KC councilmembers really get free parking? Nine parking spots in downtown Seattle is at least $30k a year, about as much as this entire bike subsidy.

Posted by jrrrl | October 23, 2008 2:35 PM

And how about charging market rate for on-street parking? $2 an hour is a bargain that causes folks to endlessly circle looking for a spot clogging traffic, polluting, and denying the city extra revenue.

Posted by Westlake, son! | October 23, 2008 2:40 PM

@10 & 11 - it's for ppl who walk, bikeride, or car/vanpool to locations OUTSIDE OF DOWNTOWN ("Outside downtown Seattle is defined as the area north of Denny Way, south of South Dearborn Street, and east of I‑5.")

Posted by jezbian | October 23, 2008 2:41 PM

@7: $90 zillion grillion infinity!

(Fixed it).

Posted by ECB | October 23, 2008 2:47 PM

so of course it's a subsidy for people that don't actually work where most the jobs are.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | October 23, 2008 2:52 PM

@2 : No damn idea what you're talking about. My spouse has had to pay $13/day out-of-pocket many times to park our car in the privately-operated "county garage" on Goat Hill because there weren't county vehicles available. Of course, s/he usually isn't doing anything important -- just stuff like driving around trying to locate witnesses for a murder trial s/he's prosecuting. But I'm sure whatever you do for a living is *really* important too.

Posted by MarriedToTheLaw | October 23, 2008 2:53 PM

@12, Its in a county owned garage, but yup. Or at least they did a couple years ago

@13, Its 3 bucks an hour which is pretty close to market rate in most areas. Especially given the limitation of 2 hours.

Posted by Giffy | October 23, 2008 2:54 PM

thank god the UW is part of the state, not the county.

But it is a low blow by the County. They should at least MATCH the deduction.

Posted by Will in Seattle | October 23, 2008 2:58 PM

(and if you walk/bike/bus to the UW, you can get parking tickets (6 per semester) for half-price compared to what the regular commuters pay ...)

Posted by Will in Seattle | October 23, 2008 3:01 PM

@16, if you think most of the jobs in the region, or even the city, are downtown, you're super-wrong.

Posted by Fnarf | October 23, 2008 4:16 PM

@14: that information is outdated. Downtown workers were eligible beginning Oct. 1st

And no, there is not free parking for county employees' personal cars. However, my understanding is that elected officials are provided free parking spaces in the new county office building at 5th & Jefferson.

Posted by happy renter | October 24, 2008 10:48 AM

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