Results shaky for ballot measures funding transit and schools

April 23, 2014

By Ari Cetron

New: April 23, 9:16 a.m.

On election night, voters seem ready to reject higher taxes this election, no matter what’s being taxed or what’s being funded. Mail-in balloting means the election is not quite over, however, and results could change by May 6, the day the votes are certified.

A countywide measure to fund Metro and roads with a $60 car tab fee and 0.1 percent sales tax hike is losing 55-45. If the measure ultimately fails, Metro has promised a 16 percent reduction in service. In Sammamish, those cuts include a reduction of the 269 bus route and elimination of the 927 DART bus. The 216 and 219 buses will not be affected.

If Metro follows through with all of the threatened cuts, it remains to be seen what the overall impacts will be on traffic across the county as bus routes are cut or eliminated and more people are forced into cars.

The Lake Washington School District, attempting its second bond of the year, also looks likely to lose. The $404 million would have increased property taxes by an annual average of 61 cents per thousand dollars of assessed value over the 22-year life of a the bond measure. It would have built new schools needed to accommodate a projected 4,000 students coming to the district in the next eight years.

Prior to the bond, school board members had made dire predictions of double-shifting schools or year-round school to find ways to fit all of the students.

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5 Responses to “Results shaky for ballot measures funding transit and schools”

  1. Anonymous on April 23rd, 2014 9:23 am

    Very happy to see both of these failed. In Metro’s case, they need to work on better management and adjusting the outrageous contracts for the drivers. In LWSD’s case, they need to present a MUCH more sensible plan for dealing with growth. And it must include the needs of Sammamish rather than focusing only on Redmond and Kirkland. I, for one, would love to see a year-round schedule. I grew up in a district with year-round and thought it worked nicely.

  2. Jeffrey Weems on April 23rd, 2014 6:31 pm

    Couple things for the proponents of these measures to consider:
    1) LWSD warns of projected increase of 8000 “new” students. How many of these students are assumed to be in families that moved into the district in new housing? Why doesn’t the increased tax base of the houses/condos where those 8,000 new students live provide enough money to cover their costs? Why are the current residents being asked to pay more taxes primarily to accommodate new students who don’t live here?

    2) When the reporter says “it remains to be seen what the overall impacts will be on traffic” because bus rides will be cut? Really? In Sammamish there are only a couple of bus runs maybe 200 people take the bus. How much difference will an addition 200 cars on the road a day make to Sammamish? Not much.

  3. Jeffrey Weems on April 23rd, 2014 7:09 pm

    The district is too large. The requested additional schools were in Kirkland and Redmond. Why do I care when I live in Sammamish. If Mercer Island, population about 35,000 can be a school district, why can’t Sammamish, population approximately 65,000 be a school district unto itself? This would localize the funds being paid and the recipient schools.

  4. Administrator on April 24th, 2014 9:59 am

    Remains to be seen means just that. It does remain to be seen. Maybe there will be no impact, maybe it will be large. To your larger point, don’t you ever leave the plateau? If the cuts come off as promised, there’s likely to be a lot more cars on the road all over the county.

  5. Anonymous on April 24th, 2014 10:53 am

    Well, does Metro really need to make the cuts or are they simply trying to make a point? Why don’t the bus drivers pay a single penny towards their own healthcare? Why are there dozens and dozens of busses running completely empty every day throughout the region?

    Metro is throwing a tantrum by cutting service. There are other things that can be done to cut costs (how about raising the fares? The average Metro bus rider makes over $50,000/year according to Metro’s own studies…make them pay more for the services they are using) but they don’t have the will to do them.

    Your argument seems to be that no matter what the cost, no matter what the current inefficiencies are, we should give Metro more money, all in the name of keeping some cars off the road? When does it stop? When do we force them to improve?

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