Opinion

Vote ‘yes’ on Prop 1 to maintain transit | Editorial

It would be easy to say “no” to King County Proposition 1, the tax and vehicle fee for transportation that’s on the April 22 ballot. After all, who wants more taxes?

But that would be the wrong thing to do.

All of King County will be served best with a “yes” vote to both maintain transit service at current levels and provide maintenance and safety improvements to roads in cities and in unincorporated King County.

Everyone who drives on our roads, including freeways and highways, knows firsthand how congested things are. Bumper-to-bumper traffic is a daily occurrence. Take away transit routes and things only will get worse. And, yes, traffic around here can get worse.

Metro Transit provides 400,000 rides each day to people throughout the county. Without Prop 1, Metro would have to make drastic cuts to its service that would affect 80 percent of bus riders. If that happens, it is estimated that an additional 30,000 cars will be added to our roads each day. Worse, those who must use the bus — people with disabilities, students and working families — will find themselves stranded.

Approving Prop 1 comes at a cost, of course.

Prop 1 would levy a 0.1 percent sales tax and install a $60 vehicle fee. Each would last for 10 years. To help ease the pain on the poor, Prop 1 also allows for a low-income vehicle fee rebate of $20 and also a low-income Metro transit fare.

None of this is meant to dismiss the concerns of opponents of Prop 1. In fact, we share many of those concerns.

We know that Metro’s transit costs are high and we aren’t convinced that Metro truly has done all it can to rein them in. And we don’t like any increase in the sales tax because it is regressive and hits the poor more harshly than the rich.

The bottom line is that transit service is too important — for rich and poor alike. It must be maintained and Prop 1 will do that. Vote “yes.”

– Craig Groshart, Bellevue Reporter

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