City Preps For Cuts After Prop 1 Failure

It doesn’t take an expert to predict that upcoming traffic reports include more cars on the road, increased congestion and many, many unhappy commuters.

In April, Metro services were put on death row when voters rejected Proposition 1. The measure would have prevented bus cuts by filling the 17 percent budget gap with a $60 car-tab fee, a $20 addition to the current $40 fee, and a 0.1 percent sales
tax increase.

These temporary charges aimed to raise $130 million annually for 10 years, with 60 percent going to Metro services and the other 40 percent set aside for fixing roads. The failure of Proposition 1 means that, starting this September, 72 routes will be eliminated and 84 routes will be
changed or shortened.

When there are fewer transit options, everybody has to do some rerouting, including Seattle
University students.

“A lot of students are wondering, ‘how am I going to get to school now?” said Seattle University senior and former SGSU Commuter Representative Tanary Gomez.

There are many other commuters on campus that need to prepare for fewer transportation options.

“I was able to go to this school because I could make transportation work. If transportation didn’t work then I would have to go somewhere else,” said Seattle U sophomore Audrey Ngadiran.

The popular 210 and 211 are a couple of the routes being cut. These are direct routes from the Eastside to Seattle. Additionally, route 4 to downtown Seattle and route 72 to the University of Washington.

With more than 400,000 people relying on Metro to get to school and work, some wonder how Proposition 1 could have failed.

News analyst and adjunct professor Joni Balter said there are two main reasons.
“Number one, people hate the car-tab,” Balter said. “Number two, the real reason it failed is that it was a very negative pitch. It was sort of like [pay] taxes or we’ll kill your bus routes. Voters here won’t like being threatened; they like positive pitches.”

Others agree that this negativity blew Proposition 1 out of proportion. According to Gomez, there was too much exaggeration and not enough information regarding the vote. Furthermore, many of those who would be most affected by the Metro cuts are immigrants, or those that are not registered to vote, resulting in less people voting that actually want the measure, and more people voting that are strongly against it.

In addition to the negativity surrounding Proposition 1, some say the community was not well informed.

SGSU Freshman Representative Owen Goetze put together a Proposition 1 and Metro Bus Cuts Discussion on campus in April.

The discussion included one speaker in favor of the measure and one against. According to Goetze, Doctor Bill Eager from Eastside Transportation Association spoke against Proposition 1 and Bill Morton from the Transit Riders Union spoke in favor of it.

“We didn’t have great participation. Not a lot of people showed up,” Goetze said. Goetze believes the event was overshadowed by other events during that week. Many commuters reportedly wanted to attend the meeting, but were unable to because it was at an inconvenient time.

“The Proposition failed because of general lack of information. It would have been helpful if they had made a bigger deal about the meeting,” said Ngadiran. Freshman Oshian Coates agreed that her commute made it impossible for her to attend the meeting and she would have participated if it were held earlier.

Though Proposition 1 has failed, advocates of Metro are still trying to save public transportation.
Friends of Transit filed a new initiative for the November 2014 ballot. This measure would save bus service only within Seattle city limits by creating a Seattle-only based property tax equivalent to 22 cents per $1,000 property value, raising $25 million a year for the next six years to reverse Seattle metro cuts.

“I’m mixed,” Balter said about the situation. “Seattle clearly needs bus service, but King County going along [with this initiative] is a risky thing because it is a separate thing from the state…I understand it; Seattle needs the bus service, but it’s rough to be that much of an island.”
Gomez does not think that the initiative is enough.

“I think it’s a ridiculous idea,” Gomez said. “I understand Seattle is the metropolitan area where most people come to work. But it’s about the buses that take you to the buses that take you to work. It’s those suburban areas outside of Seattle that are being affected the most.”