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Lambert Throws Support Behind County Car Tab Fee

King County Council now ready to approve the $20 increase as a way to save Metro bus service.

The King County Council is poised to approve a  following the decision by Eastside representatives Jane Hague and Kathy Lambert to throw their support behind the measure in exchange for a set of conditions.

The added fees are intended to make up for a decline in sales tax revenue that funds Metro bus service in the county.

Lambert and Hague, who had previously opposed the fees, announced their changed position Friday morning. Their support gives the council the supermajority to enact the fees without voter approval. Councilmembers Larry Phillips, Bob Ferguson, Larry Gossett, Joe McDermott, and Julia Patterson had previously stated their support.

“This bipartisan agreement addresses my primary concerns and offers real reform for Metro,” Hague said in a council news release. “It’s critical that we keep people and businesses moving on the Eastside – especially during these tough economic times. This new package creates jobs and provides equity for the Eastside.”

Lambert, who represents Woodinville and Hague agreed to support the fees in exchange for a set of requirements calling for Metro to operate more efficiently. These conditions, as listed in a council news release, include:

  • Developing a Transit Incentive Program to provide eight bus tickets worth up to $24 for each car tab renewal.
  • Phasing out the downtown Seattle Ride Free Area in October 2012.
  • Increasing the pool of funds that provides sharply discounted bus tickets to human service and homeless programs.
  • Implementing right-sizing of service consistent with the Transit Strategic Plan.
  • Considering routes that carry more riders due to the effects of highway tolling as candidates for added services.

“We’re working together in a bipartisan fashion, unlike those in Washington, D.C.,” Lambert said in the news release. “People in these uncertain economic times need certainty that they have an alternative method such as buses to get to work. There are many systemic changes in the new package that will help meet the needs of efficiency, transparency and providing transportation.”

Metro had said it would need to cut bus service by 17 percent if the fees were not enacted. A council vote on the measure is scheduled to take place Monday.

long time Woodinville resident August 12, 2011 at 11:03 PM
Read my lips - NO MORE TAXES. Why are our elected politicians not listening. We have voted to keep our tabs low. We didn't mean until they decided to raise them. What I really want to know is why do our elected politicians keep ingnoring us?
Ron Zimmerman August 13, 2011 at 04:37 PM
Actually we vote for representatives who will make decisions based on a host of changing requirements, of unanticipated gives and takes.
Al Taylor August 14, 2011 at 07:05 AM
Some of us also vote for representatives who will make decisions based on facts and who will make 'gives and takes' within the existing budget! Increasing taxes to solve problems seems to be the easy way out for many politicians. What happened to leaders who reset priorities and balancing the budget with monies already collected? I am not in favor of raising taxes during a deep recessionary period, especially upon those who don't use the services. Why doesn't the county council look at the quality of service that the Metro provides (or lack thereof) and put together a plan to increase ridership by improving value instead of taxing each vehicle on the road $20 for a poorly implemented system?
Dave Henry August 14, 2011 at 04:03 PM
One of the many problems associated with SOCIALISM, is what to do when you run out of OPM aka, (other peoples money). The Federal government is broke,! why?, it spends $100 billion dollars every 30 days, more than it receives, aka ( a spending problem). The state of Washington is broke. Our governor just announced that the state's sales tax revenue is still shrinking. Seattle is broke. King county is broke. Metro is broke. Woodinville is broke. Woodinville's very own sewage treatment plant is broke. The US Post Office is broke. Prison system is broke. Public school system is broke. The real numbers for unemployment are between 15% and 18%. Home foreclosures are still up. 40% of the US population is currently on food stamps. 47% of the US population pay no income tax and some receive an IRS, income tax credit, (translated means they get money back and pay nothing in). The Feredal government just received a downgrade in its credit rating, aka (too much debt and shrinking revenue). Small business owners are closing up shop. Many retired folks who do have their homes paid for are struggling just to pay the already punishing property taxes. Other than that, Kathy Lambert's idea of an additional $20 tab fee, I think is a great idea. That darn old OPM stuff, just won't go away. I wonder how many families, small business owners and corporations would hire a politician to handle their finances?? Dave Henry
Peter Tountas August 14, 2011 at 08:40 PM
Lets face it. This is simply another tax and it has nothing to do with autos. The additional $20 tab tax is a easy way to finance another project, and in this case it is Metro. If any politician has even the slighest idea that the $20 will encourage more Metro riders, they clearly have been in the position much, much too long. The other problem in being in office too long, is that politicians lose the pulse of the people that voted them into office. These are extremely critical fiscal times and another tax, for whatever reason, clearly is a "slap in the face" for tax payers. It is very sad that Lambert has fallen in the same trap many politicians do. As tax payers we have the ultimate power and that is called a "vote." We will use it, make no mistake about that.

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