Hundreds turn out to support Metro Transit, stable funding

From all corners of the county, bus riders and transit advocates packed a hearing Tuesday evening in a push for stable ongoing funding to prevent major Metro Transit service cuts.2013_0514_bigcrowd

Learn more about potential service cuts facing Metro riders. You also can read a summary news release from the hearing.

“We are at a crossroads. As demand continues to increase and the economy improves, we should be increasing service and providing more transportation choices,” said Metro Transit General Manager Kevin Desmond. “However, unless we obtain new funding, we will put plans in place this fall to begin reducing service in 2014.”

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“Employers throughout Downtown, large and small, recognize the importance of transit service to their economic futures,” said Downtown Seattle Association president & CEO Kate Joncas. “Hundreds of small and medium-sized companies in Downtown voluntarily purchase transit passes for their employees. Large employers have invested millions of dollars in transit benefits for their workers as required by the state’s successful Commute Trip Reduction Act. Cutting transit service would put these employers, and our city, at a competitive disadvantage.”2013_0514_signinphoto

“In King County, we need more transit service to meet the needs of our communities. The new reality is that Washingtonians are driving less and choosing to live in affordable, walkable communities connected by transit,” said Rob Johnson, Executive Director of Transportation Choices Coalition. “Those communities can only grow and thrive at the same rate as our transit system, they are inextricably connected. The cuts proposed to our Metro bus service will hurt our economic prosperity, put undue pressure on those without transportation options, and damage our quality of life. We must do everything we can to prevent cuts from occurring and keep buses on the streets.”

2013_0514_waitingtospeak“Transit is how students get to class, get to the jobs that pay their tuition.  It is how they connect to their community as volunteers, advocates, and participants in civic life,” said Josh Kavanagh, the University of Washington’s Director of Transportation.  “Allowing our transit network to be dismantled will place yet one more barrier on the path to prosperity for students and for all our fellow citizens–at a time when we should be clearing that path to encourage and support economic recovery.”

2013_0514_Panelists“The potential cuts to Metro services would exacerbate an already desperate situation for many low-income or vulnerable people.  Individuals with greater mobility challenges, linguistic barriers, and economic hardship will have a more difficult time adjusting to any further transit reductions,” said Hyeok Kim, Executive Director of InterIm CDA, an affordable housing development, housing services organization.  We know this because many of the clients that social service organizations serve have already disproportionately borne the burden of reductions that King County has been forced to make in recent years.”

2013_0514_womanspeaksTo see the discussion and more comments, search #MetroFuture or relive the conversation.

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