The King County Council’s adoption of the 2015-2016 county budget on Nov. 17 marks a turning point for Metro. After extraordinary efforts to save as much bus service as possible during a six-year financial crisis, the new budget maintains current service levels for the next two years.
Metro’s ongoing efficiency gains, recent projections of lower fuel costs, and other financial improvements enabled the Council to adopt a budget that eliminates the need for previously proposed service cuts.
Earlier in November, Seattle voters approved funding for additional transit service. The City of Seattle will purchase Metro service through County Executive Dow Constantine’s Community Mobility Contracts Program. Seattle will expand service on Metro routes that serve the city by about 10 percent.
The need remains for long-term funding that fully meets King County’s current and future demand for bus service. According to Metro’s service guidelines, 15 percent more bus service is needed today—and ridership is growing. Although Metro’s budget will maintain the current service level for two years, and Seattle funding extends through 2020, neither enable sustainable long-term growth in transit service.
Metro will continue striving to make the most of every available transit dollar, and county leaders have pledged to continue working for a transportation funding solution.