Accountability

Bad budget management and poor use of public money cause financial mess at Island Transit

July 30, 2014 in Blog

New information from Island Transit shows a series of poor financial decisions made by local managers are the source of the district’s trouble, not lack of state money. Island Transit provides bus service and vanpools throughout Whidbey and Camano Islands, with routes connecting Skagit and Snohomish Counties. The agency is fully subsidized by taxpayers and doesn’t collect fares from passengers. Earlier this year, Island Transit officials announced plans to cut the Camano Island to Everett bus route, citing a lack of state tax money as the primary reason.

Seattle leaders’ tax-increase plan to save Metro Transit is a solution looking for a problem

July 25, 2014 in Blog

Seattle voters will have their say in November on another tax plan to “save” Metro bus service. Last week, the Seattle City Council voted to send the tax-increase plan to the November ballot with the following text:

The Seattle Transportation Benefit District’s Proposition 1 concerns funding for Metro Transit service.

Seattle Times Editorial Board says raising federal gas tax "probably a bad idea" for Washington state

July 7, 2014 in Blog

The Seattle Times Editorial Board says Congress needs to act to fix the soon-to-be-broke Highway Trust Fund, but they say raising the federal 18.4 cents-per-gallon gas tax is not the way to do it. Lately, Congress has been spending money out of the Highway Trust Fund faster than gas tax money comes in to support it.  The solution, Times editors say, needs to come quickly because Congress only has about 30 days to solve the problem.

Editorial cartoon - painful operation to cut King County Metro bus service no longer needed

June 16, 2014 in Blog

In a masterpiece of clarity and concision, The Seattle Times has posted Frank Shiers’ cartoon that gets at the heart of the reason behind the coming cuts in King County Metro bus service.  County Executive Dow Constantine, despite Councilmember Rod Dembowski’s plan that would save 95% of current bus service, is pushing ahead with a painful operation that is no longer necessary.  As Councilmember Larry Phillips put it, “There’s no action more regressive than gutt

Four reasons Seattle’s plan to save bus service could be worse than Proposition 1 for Seattleites

June 3, 2014 in Blog

On April 22nd, voters in King County overwhelmingly rejected Proposition 1, County leaders’ proposal to increase regressive car tab fees and sales taxes to collect more money for roads and transit. After the vote, county officials say they will move ahead with their plan to impose deep cuts to bus service in communities across the county.

Seattle City Councilmembers announce another tax plan to bolster Metro’s budget

May 19, 2014 in Blog

According to The Seattle Times, Seattle City Councilmembers Kshama Sawant and Nick Licata want to impose three tax increases to maintain Metro bus service in Seattle: a new tax on employers, higher parking taxes, and a hefty car tab fee.

New tax proposal to maintain bus service in Seattle; a timeline of events

May 15, 2014 in Blog

On April 22nd, voters in King County overwhelmingly rejected Proposition 1, a ballot measure to increase regressive car fees and sales taxes to provide more money for existing levels of public transit.  The special election cost about $1.8 million.  The measure’s defeat has sparked a crisis in the County’s management of Metro bus services.

Seattle Times Editorial urges look at tribal gas tax agreements

May 5, 2014 in Blog

Last week, The Seattle Times editorial board suggested the state Supreme Court should look into gas tax diversion. According to their editorial, former State Auditor Brian Sonntag looked at tribal agreements for fuel tax refunds he says the tribes aren’t eligible for. At tribal gas pumps, gas taxes are paid by the wholesaler, not the tribe.

Labor dispute may cost state $17 million; the earliest the tunneling machine could be fixed is March 2015

April 22, 2014 in Blog

According to Crosscut, the state may be on the hook for $17.6 million due to the labor dispute  that shut the tunnel project down for about a month. Last year, unions argued over four dirt hauling jobs that resulted in picket lines even though the Project Labor Agreement assured there would be no labor unrest.

King County Metro officials confirm windfall tax revenues; plan to impose 92% of planned service cuts

April 15, 2014 in Blog

King County Metro officials reported on the  $30 million windfall in sales tax revenues they are receiving this year.  Speaking at a committee briefing for members of the King County Council this afternoon, Dwight Dively, Director of the Office of Performance, Strategy, and Budget, called the unexpected new money “...really good news.”  But it may not be good news to Metro riders.

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