Metro cuts could hurt Sammamish
April 4, 2013
By Ari Cetron
New: April 4, 2:34 p.m.
Sammamish could lose two of the three King County Metro bus routes that serve the city and see cuts to the third, officials announced April 1.
Overall, the transit agency said it could cut 65 routes and reduce service on another 86 routes across the county if it doesn’t get more funding. In total, Metro officials predict a 17 percent service reduction. The agency has 217 routes in the system.
For Sammamish, Metro predicts it would cut the 216 and 927 routes. It would also reduce service on the 269. Officials did not specify the depth of the reduction.
City officials were concerned about the proposed cuts. Mayor Tom Odell noted at the April 2 City Council meeting that virtually the entire Snoqualmie Valley would have its bus routes cut. If that happens, it could means dozens if not hundreds of more cars clogging the roads or trying to use the already crowded park and ride lots in Issaquah and Redmond, he said.
Councilman Don Gerend was upset about the specific cuts to Sammamish, noting that a bus like the 216 is usually full.
“We worked very hard to get that line for Sammamish,” Gerend said.
Some members of the City Council planned a trip to Olympia to lobby state lawmakers for additional funding for transit. With the state’s focus on court-mandated increases in education funding, however, transit funding likely faces an uphill battle.
Without new funding, Metro warns the cuts could begin in the fall 2014.
Metro officials had issued a similar warning about two years ago. At that time, the Legislature allowed King County to adopt a $20 car tab fee, with the money earmarked for transit. Those who paid the fee would also get a few passes to use on Metro busses.
The fee, however, was only authorized for two years, this year and next year.
The fee generates about $50 million each year, Metro officials said in a press release. They also noted the financial reforms they’ve initiated, including cutting staff, freezing wages, reducing service and reducing the number of replacement buses.