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King County transportation committee approves bus cuts compromise

The King County Council’s Transportation, Economy and Environment Committee unanimously approved on Tuesday a compromise proposal that authorizes more than half of the needed Metro Transit bus service cuts.

Councilmembers Larry Phillips, Joe McDermott, Larry Gossett and Dave Upthegrove introduced the legislation in Monday’s full Council meeting but it was rejected.

“I want to thank the executive (Dow Constantine) and Chair Phillips for working on a proposal that I could at least hold my nose and vote for,” said Upthegrove in a county media release. “It took a little longer than everyone hoped, but I am pleased that the current ‘Majority Coalition’ decided to vote for the same proposal today (Tuesday) that they rejected yesterday (Monday). I’m not sure what caused them to change their minds, but I am grateful that the executive and council chair brought this proposal to us yesterday and that it is finally moving forward.”

The new proposal permits Metro to move forward with cutting 350,000 hours of bus service and creates an ad-hoc committee of Councilmembers and the executive to further evaluate how service cuts will be implemented in 2015.

“Let’s be clear, when it comes to transit cuts, there are no winners,” said McDermott, who chairs the Budget & Fiscal Management Committee. “The executive negotiated this proposal as a compromise to the Majority Coalition’s proposal. I voted for this compromise because it contains two items absent from what they first approved.

"First, this proposal is more fiscally responsible because it better aligns our expenditures with actual revenues. Second, it stays true to Metro’s Strategic Plan, which was developed to keep the politics out of bus route decisions. This legislation is not perfect, but it’s time to move forward. Bus riders need some certainty about whether their bus will still serve them.”

The full Council will consider the proposal on Monday, July 21.

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