As I report in the latest edition of the The Stranger, hours after the legislature authorized King County to levy a $20 car tab fee to save some 250,000 bus service hours at Metro Transit—but only on an unprecedented two-thirds vote of the council—Eastside Council Member Jane Hague announced that she would not approve any fee that didn't come before voters, virtually assuring a ballot referendum this fall... assuming the council can even muster the 50 percent majority to do that.

Either way major cuts are coming, it's only a matter of how big and where. And since it's Hague and her three East and South King County Republican colleagues who least value Metro bus service (at least, not enough to fund it), shouldn't it be their districts that absorb the bulk of the cuts?

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My modest proposal: the same 40-40-20 formula the council has relied on for years to divvy up new service, should also be used to divvy up service cuts. Under 40-40-20, 40 percent of new service hours have been added to the Eastside subarea, 40 percent to the South subarea, and only 20 percent to the West subarea encompassing populous Seattle, Shoreline and Lake Forest Park. Not only would a similar formula for service cuts be fair given the lack of support for adequate funding from East and South subarea council members and the disproportionate benefit these districts have received from 40-40-20 to date, it would also be the most efficient and cost-effective approach since the East and South subareas contain the routes with by far the worst fare box returns in the system.

After all, if Republicans are looking to squeeze even more efficiency out of Metro Transit, how could they object to cutting the least cost-effective routes?

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