King County Executive Dow Constantine was riding Metro on April 21 to emphasize the need to support Proposition 1, a tax increase meant to fund Metro Transit and help repair roads.
Executive Constantine adds emphasis to April 21 'Save Metro' election
By David Rosen and Patrick Robinson
While King County Executive Dow Constantine is well known for being a very approachable man, it's not often you see him on the Metro C Line headed downtown. He made a special trip to add emphasis to the election to "Save Metro" in the April 22 election. A poll running on the SeattleTimes.com shows support for the tax increase proposed in the election is not strong with 23.05% favoring a fare increase. Others favor other means.
Constantine said, "It's critical that folks find that ballot buried on their kitchen counter, fill it out and send it in. We're facing severe cuts to our transit system if we're not able to raise additional revenue and some of this money will also go to start on the backlog of maintenance and repair for our roadways."
Despite the poll results and reports of low turnout for this election Constantine remains upbeat.
"Turnout has been pretty strong in places in the county and I think that folks are getting the message that it's important to our economy and important for our future," he said. He acknowledged that many people wait until the last minute to mail in their ballot. "I'm hoping that by getting out and talking to people today it will remind them that even though it's the middle of April there's an election going on."
The Executive noted that the state at one time provided up to 30% of the funding for Metro. "Now it provides virtually nothing," he said. "The economy collapsed and with it the sales tax so Metro lost $1.2 billion but by being efficient and creative, by drawing down our reserves we kept buses on the road which helped people get back into the job force. Cutting transit is bad for the economy. Cutting transportation is something we can't afford."
What are the top three reasons he urges support?
"One, transit is critical to our economy. The economy doesn't work unless people can get to work. Two, it's critical to the individual trying to get back in the game, back on that economic ladder especially those who can't afford another mode of transportation. Three, Metro transit is a lifeline for people who can't drive. People with disabilities, the young and the elderly so this is something that we provide as infrastructure for the entire community. Although it's not our preference to have go to the ballot and ask for more funds the state legislature hasn't acted so we need to act."