Fast-growing sales-tax income would fund more bus service in King County and more transit police in 2017-18, under a proposal by Executive Dow Constantine.
King County’s prosperity would allow more bus service and increased security in 2017 and 2018, according to a budget proposal announced Wednesday.
Metro Transit intends to add 300,000 service hours during the next two years for $30 million, said County Executive Dow Constantine. Another $11 million would go to equip every bus with cameras and hire more transit police.
That doesn’t include service already being added within Seattle, includingincreased trips in south and northwest Seattle this month, using the city’s new $60 car-tab fee, approved by voters in 2014.
Metro’s largest funding source is sales tax, which brought in $527 millionlast year and is growing 11 percent so far this year. Sales tax for Metro is 90 cents per $100 purchase, not including Sound Transit and Seattle transit taxes. Fares cover 30 percent of operating cost, while buses are purchased mainly using federal grants.
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Constantine will propose a $1.6 billion, two-year operating budget and a $1.8 billion, six-year capital budget to include maintenance-base expansions.
About $7 million would install or lease restrooms for transit operators, and increase break times between runs, to ease an unhealthy working condition.
Metro buses carry about 410,000 average weekday passengers, a virtual tie with Washington, D.C., to be the nation’s sixth-largest public bus provider. Growth is coming so fast that sometimes Metro cancels trips because of driver shortages.
The transit budgets are expected to be amended and approved by the County Council by Thanksgiving.