Tuesday, June 28, 2011

KING COUNTY HEARINGS: Metro Cuts and Congestion Reduction Charge

The King County council's Transportation, Economy and Environment Committee will be hosting three hearings to offer citizens opportunities to testify on proposed transit cuts as well as the proposed $20 congestion reduction charge on vehicles. Committee chair Larry Phillips clearly outlines the choice at stake:

“King County has a choice of cutting 17 percent of our transit service—taking the system back to 1996 service levels—or preserving current service levels" by enacting the congestion fee.

All meetings will start at 6:00 p.m. and will be held in Kirkland, Seattle and Burien. We encourage everyone in King County to attend one and make their voices heard!

Wednesday, July 6
Kirkland City Council Chambers
123 Fifth Avenue

Tuesday, July 12
King County Courthouse, Council Chambers,
10th Floor
516 Third Avenue

Thursday, July 21
Burien City Council Chambers
400 S.W. 152nd Street 

All meetings start at 6pm 

More info at http://www.kingcounty.gov/council/news/2011/June/LP_treemtgs.aspx


  1. Wrong "steak" - stake.

    This is nice framing of the debate though - taking us back 15 years.

  2. When I heard about the possible congestion charge, I thought it would be like in London. In London, there is a congestion charge to enter central London during weekday business hours. The cost is ~USD20 per day. It is enforced by camera and charges those who actually enter the congestion area (unless rerouted there by a detour or traffic official). I wonder - has this approach been considered? It bothers me a little to imagine the working poor coming into town late at night to do custodial work and having to pay an extra $20 a year on car tabs. Myself, I believe that owning a personal car is a ridiculous prospect in these modern times. Seattle has a pretty good public transportation system and it saddens me that it may suffer cuts due to the fact that our local government can't manage to tax those who can afford to pay enough to cover services that are needed. The proposed cuts to bus service do not affect me at all, but in reviewing them, I see that some UW students will have to drive in, and suburbanites will have to drive more often. Driving is bad for all of us, but I know that when I had a car, I would often drive even short distances (under a mile). It is "easy" but the easy way is generally not the best way.

    City planning has failed us in this as well. People should not have to drive to get to work, but people have to live where they can afford to live and people have to work where the jobs are. An unfortunate fact.

  3. I agree with the above posting. When I first heard about the congestion charge I thought it would somehow charge drivers based on CONGESTION. Why should out of county people clogging up King County's stretches of road during rush hour get off without any additional tax if they live in Pierce/Kitsap/Snohomish? I'm wondering why we are supporting these congestion tax deadbeats? Let's see, they live in cheaper areas to drive 20-50 miles to their jobs in King County, but expect King County citizens to foot the bill to lighten traffic so more people can move out to drive in? The ONLY fair way to do it is the London model. If you drive in your car then pay for the privilege. What would that investment in camera technology be? $50-$100 mil? Let's charge cars $5/day from 6-9AM and 3-7pm ($2.50 + $2.50 each way, the same as if they did a peak zone bus ride) or about $100/month or $1200/year for the privilege of sitting alone in your car. If their employer doesn't pick up the tab, then they are likely to start forming more commuter pools to drive together to share the cost of the congestion tax thereby reducing the traffic exponentially or if the transportation consumer doesn't change their behavior at least we'll match a lot of extra tax revenue to the source of the problem. It should more than pay for the technology investment in cameras + fund metro services.

    I'm not sure why we all need to pay an additional $20 tax per car to fund metro. I could care less about $20 tabs, but I do think it ridiculous to dress it up as "congestion reduction" the bulk of the service cuts Metros says would come from late night and weekend service. So, during commuter hours nothing changes! You need to change the transportation consumer behavior by providing marked incentives to get out of their car, carpool, or live closer to their job. A $20 vehicle license tax for King County residents does not change anyone's behavior, unfairly benefits the surrounding counties while disadvantaging already heavily taxed King County, and I agree hurts the people who have odd shift hour jobs who can least afford the service reductions. Get real Metro.

  4. I recommend a bicycle license tax.

  5. Yeah, 'cause it's the bikes causing the congestion, pollution, and road damage.