Bellevue faces bus cuts

King County Metro has identified 65 bus routes for possible elimination and an additional 86 with potential service reductions, due to a funding shortage. Twenty-three of those affected route through Bellevue.

On Tuesday, an estimated 400 people turned out for a hearing at Seattle’s Union Station to testify about the impact of the 17 percent cuts, expected for 2014. A drop in sales tax revenue during the recession, is partly to blame for the budget problem. And with reserve funds drying up at the end of the year, many attendees asked for a more permanent solution to the $75 million annual budget gap. The cuts come on the heels of Bellevue and the county’s efforts to build public transit.

The cuts come on the heels of Bellevue and the county’s efforts to build public transit.

The Bellevue routes that could be eliminated include the 114, 210, 211, 215, 216, 237, 243, 244, 246, 250, 265 and 280. Those facing possible revisions are the 221, 226, 232, 234, 235, 241, 245, 246, 255, 269 and 271.

On May 6, the Bellevue City Council voted 6-0 to advocate at the Legislature for a “local option” to fund transit, but only if the funding alternative is decided on by voters.

Possible local options to fund transit could include a King County vote on a motor vehicle excise tax, and/or an annual vehicle license fee at the city level.

City staff said the cuts would come at a time when demand for transit is strong. Between 2003 and 2012, daily transit usage in Bellevue increased 111 percent, from 22,000 to 46,000 daily boardings-departures.


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