Adopted 2015-2016 budget maintains current Metro service level
The King County Council’s adoption of the 2015-2016 county budget on Nov. 17 marks a turning point for Metro. Coming after extraordinary efforts to save bus service during a six-year financial crisis, the new budget maintains the current level of service for the next two years.
Ever since the 2008 recession caused a steep drop in sales tax revenue, Metro has preserved most bus service by cutting costs, raising fares, and making a host of fiscal reforms. But after some temporary funding expired in 2014, we had to delete or reduce service on 41 bus routes in September 2014, and proposed additional cuts for 2015 and 2016.
However, Metro’s ongoing efficiency gains, recent projections of lower fuel costs, and other financial improvements enabled the Council to adopt a budget that eliminates the need for service cuts. Learn more »
Earlier in November, Seattle voters approved funding for additional transit service. The City of Seattle will purchase Metro service through Executive Dow Constantine’s Community Mobility Contracts Program. Seattle will expand service on Metro routes that serve the city by about 10 percent. This funding expires after 2020. Learn more »
The need remains for long-term funding that fully meets King County’s current and future demand for bus service. According to Metro’s service guidelines, 15 percent more bus service is needed today—and ridership is growing. Although Metro’s budget will maintain the current service level for two years, it doesn’t enable growth. Seattle’s funding will meet much of the city’s demand, but unmet needs remain in Seattle and throughout King County.
Metro will continue striving for efficiency improvements to make the most of every available transit dollar, and county leaders have pledged to continue working for a statewide transportation funding solution.