Proposition 1 taxes - money for roads might not go to roads

April 3, 2014

King County officials say that if they don’t receive new tax revenue from the public, they plan to cut Metro bus service by 17%, close bridges and let public roads turn to gravel.

County officials say they want to use 60% of Proposition 1’s tax money to save current bus service from the cuts they are proposing, and will devote the remaining 40% to road projects that serve the traveling public.

The text of Proposition 1, however, indicates that much of the 40% of new tax money would not be spent on improving roads to increase access for drivers.

Proposition 1 would allow officials to divert road funds to projects like bike lanes, “road diets” and bus-only lanes that reduce traffic flow on public roads.  In this respect, money dedicated to maintaining roads could actually be used to take away roads from the traveling public.

Plans to divert Proposition 1’s road funding are already underway in Seattle.  The city council passed Resolution 31511, which would direct part of $16.5 million every year to “existing bus service.”  

“...this measure [Proposition 1] will direct an estimated $16.5 million annually to the City of Seattle, which will be used to fund neighborhood street repair, safety and maintenance and speed and reliability improvements to existing bus service”

The City of Seattle continues to reduce road access, called “road diets,” by changing travel lanes for the general public into restricted bus ways and bike lanes.  City leaders plan to decrease public road capacity for the drivers who will pay the bulk of Proposition 1’s regressive tax increases.

People living in rural areas would fair even worse – only 4.5%, or $6 million in the first year, of Proposition 1’s new tax money would go to maintaining roads in unincorporated King County, but regressive car fees and sales taxes would go up for everyone.

Six million dollars is not nearly enough to solve the $130 million annual road projects backlog in rural communities.

It is important to understand how the different provisions of Proposition 1 would operate; not all the money supporters say would go to roads would actually be spent on improving access to public roads for the general public.

Comments

Bob, so what's YOUR plan?

In this hackneyed version of reality, you fail to mention:

*An alternative funding stream for repairing roads & bridges

*The fact Metro has survived the Great Recession on reserves, fare hikes & fiscal band-aids in the hope of a state transportation package while revenues dropped until this year. Other transit agencies such as Community Transit in Snohomish County and Pierce Transit have gone over the cliff like you advocate - and the results are spectacularly catastrophic. You haven't mentioned those cuts, perhaps because if you are a true researcher you know those cuts are going to cause real harm.

*That you're based out of Gull Industries' HQ in Seattle which has a direct fiscal stake in devaluing transit being a gas station company. This raises serious questions if you're a political special operative trying to raise doubt to defeat this measure or a true pundit in the mold of Alise Mills or Liv Finne or Lynn Harsh willing to put alternative policy on the table.

I dare you to have the integrity to publish this comment.