Tonight is your penultimate chance to have your voice heard by King County Council members on the pending 600,000 annual hours of Metro bus service cuts and the temporary, two-year $20 car tab fee that would avert them. The Transportation Committee is holding a public hear at 6 p.m. Burien City Hall, City Council Chambers, 400 S.W. 152nd Street, Burien. (Folks are being asked not to park in the City Hall/Library parking lot.)
In my latest article on the controversy in this week's Stranger, I quote council member Julia Patterson, who represents Burien, as moving toward voting for councilmanic approval, but after the paper went to press Patterson released a statement making her support official:
“After finding out today that the proposed Congestion Relief Charge would save the 26,000 service hours scheduled to be cut in Council District 5 as part of the 17 percent reduction of transit service, I am ready to support Executive Constantine’s proposal.
“This was not an easy decision for me because families are already struggling in this economic recession. Before I gave my support of a fee increase, I needed to make absolutely sure that this proposal did not disproportionately burden the working poor in my district."
Patterson's yes vote leaves the council's five Democrats one vote short of the two-thirds supermajority the legislature required in authorizing the fee. Bellevue Republican Jane Hague, who is facing a tough reelection fight, would be the obvious sixth vote. Hague really needs to hear from the public.
So if you have the time, show up tonight in Burien to let your voice be heard, then show up again Monday, 3 p.m. at the council chambers when the full council will presumably be present to hear public comments before voting on the measure. In anticipation of another large crowd, the public will be able to sign up for comment starting at 1 p.m. in the park just south of the King County Courthouse.