Metro says more bus service cuts to come

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by LINDA BRILL / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on March 19, 2013 at 5:08 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 19 at 5:37 PM

Metro transit announced it is facing a huge budget deficit next year - and that means severe cuts in bus service.

As the buses roll by at Third and University in downtown Seattle, Metro rider Marco Delapena waits for the #7 to Rainier Beach.

He and other riders hear the bad news of a possible 17 percent bus service cut.

"Our buses are our only way to get to work and if we don't have a way to work we don't make money and can't make a living,” said Delapena.

Next year, Metro projects a $75 million deficit.

"Some people, their bus routes will be eliminated. Other bus routes would be less frequent," said Metro General Manager Kevin Desmond.

Desmond says the Highway 99 tunnel construction has been costly for Metro, and state money for extra bus service around the mess is running out. Also, money from the two-year-long car tab fee is about to expire, and Metro has spent down much of its reserves.

"This is a disaster," Desmond told the King County Council.

He asked the council to find an alternative funding source for the transit agency.

"Unless we get some other kind of funding relief, we are unfortunately going to have to reduce the system and basically live within our means,” said Desmond.

Two years ago, Metro faced the same 17percent service cuts, and riders protested.

This time, rider Rodney Jones is skeptical about Metro's woes.

"You say we're broke, broke, broke, and people are still getting rich. I just think that the public doesn't have a strong lobby," said Jones.

Metro is putting together a report on which routes could be cut. It is due out in two weeks.
 

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