Transportation

Because being there is what's most important, WPC's Center for Transportation researches and analyzes the best practices for relieving traffic congestion by recapturing a vision of a system based on freedom of movement.

What's New

Light rail’s one-year anniversary (radio)

July 19, 2010 in In the News
Dave Ross Show (KIRO 97.3)
Source: 
Dave Ross Show (KIRO 97.3)
Date: 
Monday, July 19, 2010

Reviews mixed at light rail first anniversary

July 19, 2010 in In the News
MyNorthwest.com
Source: 
MyNorthwest.com
Date: 
Monday, July 19, 2010

Light Rail, One Year Later: A Train of Broken Promises

in Press releases

Seattle – As our first year with light rail comes to a close, Sound Transit officials are certain to declare the experiment an unqualified success. Yet, a closer look at the actual performance shows citizens are not getting what they are paying for.

Metro fails to deliver bus service despite collecting enough money from taxpayers; driver salaries rise 60%

July 15, 2010 in Blog

WPC just released two new studies that looks into the performance of King County Metro to deliver on its promises from the last two sales tax increases.

In 2000 and 2006, Metro promised 1.28 million hours of new bus service in exchange for higher sales taxes.

Voters agreed and sales taxes in King County rose 0.3 percent.

Today, Metro has only delivered about a third of that new service. And despite Metro's excuse that the economy is to blame, the County did collect more than enough revenue to provide all of the service from at least the first tax increase.

While taxpayers and transit users have not received what they were promised, one group has benefited from the two tax increases, public bus drivers. Bus driver salaries have increased about 60 percent, which is twice the rate of inflation over the same time period. 

King 5 covered our findings and you can watch their report here:

The full Washington Policy Center reports are available here:

King County Officials Over-Promise Bus Service for Tax Increases

King County Metro Bus Driver Wages Grow Out of Control

King County Officials Over-promise Bus Service for Tax Increases

July 14, 2010 in Publications

King County relies heavily on sales taxes to fund its public transportation services. Metro’s sales tax rate is currently 0.9 percent and produced about $375 million in revenue in 2009. Over the last ten years, King County has twice increased the sales tax rate. In 2000, King County was successful in asking voters to approve a 0.2 percent rate hike and another 0.1 percent in 2006.

With the two sales tax increases however, Metro officials have not delivered the expanded bus service they promised voters.

Key Findings

King County Metro Bus Driver Wages Grow out of Control

July 14, 2010 in Publications

Background

Over the last ten years, King County Metro has twice increased the sales tax rate. In 2000, Metro officials were successful in asking voters to approve a 0.2 percent rate hike and another 0.1 percent in 2006. Metro officials said these two tax increases would expand county bus service by 1.28 million hours by 2016. So far, Metro officials have only delivered about 307,000 hours, a third of the bus service they promised voters.

Public Transit in Washington

July 12, 2010 in Publications

Public transit is often portrayed as a low-cost, energy-efficient alternative to auto driving. In fact, transit is much more costly than driving, and requires huge subsidies to attract riders. Moreover, transit systems in the vast majority of American cities use more energy and emit more greenhouse gases than the average car.

Light Rail, One Year Later: A Train of Broken Promises

July 12, 2010 in Publications

As our first year with light rail comes to a close, Sound Transit officials are certain to declare the experiment an unqualified success. Yet, a closer look at the actual performance shows citizens are not getting what they are paying for.

In 1996, Sound Transit officials promised voters they would build 25 miles of light rail for a total cost of about $1.8 billion, and they would be finished by 2006. In fact, officials were so confident in their “conservative” projections they called it, “Sound Move, The 10-Year Regional Transit System Plan.”

Upon further review, light rail isn’t all it’s supposed to be

July 8, 2010 in In the News
Peninsula Gateway (Gig Harbor)
Source: 
Peninsula Gateway (Gig Harbor)
Date: 
Thursday, July 8, 2010