In the face of Proposition 1's apparent defeat at the ballot, a group called Friends of Transit has announced a new plan to save Metro bus service, one that people have been whispering about for a long time: a Seattle-only tax for Seattle-only transit service.
Saying via press release that "Seattle will grind to a halt if we don't act fast to save buses," Friends of Transit founder and longtime transit activist Ben Schiendelman says the group plans to file an initiative by the end of the week, to get on the November ballot, that would raise up to $25 million a year with which to buy transit service from King County Metro for routes within Seattle city limits.
The measure would raise Seattleites' property taxes by 22 cents per $1,000 of assessed value for the next six years, and that money, says Friends of Transit, should be able to reverse most of the cuts that Metro plans for Seattle. (A quick table of those cuts can be found here.)
Goldy wrote about what people were calling "Plan C" (Prop 1 was Plan B) back in December; it wasn't anyone's first choice, since it leaves people outside the city starved for transit. But now the county-wide plan has failed.
So: Too bad, suburbs, many people are saying now. Or at least: We have to save the city first.
How would this plan work, exactly? From the press release:
Revenues would be collected by the City of Seattle and used to purchase service from King County Metro. Seattle currently buys approximately 45,000 hours of bus service from Metro using revenues generated by the Bridging the Gap property tax levy, approved by voters in 2006.
We'll have more as soon as we know it.