Early versions of ESB
6882 6582 authorized a 1% Motor Vehicle Excise Tax (MVET) for counties to address their transportation needs. It was unclear at the time how this authority was to be shared between County road departments and transit agencies. A full 1% would not only have solved Metro’s long-term deficit, but also would have made a large dent in the State’s nearly-dead promise to allow funding of the transit component of the Deep Bore Tunnel plan.
Martin Munguia at the CT blog has a very helpful update on how this bill has evolved, and it should surprise no one that the possibility of addressing the DBT shortfall has disappeared:
The bill also says that if a county does not impose a local MVET of up to one-percent by December 31, 2013, the transit systems within that county may impose up to one-half of the county’s one-percent, and that a county may waive the December 31, 2013, deadline.
Meaning that if the county waits for a vote or simply decides not to go for a vote of MVET funds by Dec. 13, 2013, the transit agency in that county can seek such a measure for up to 0.5 percent.
The peak annual deficit at Metro is about $60m. A 1% MVET generates at least $100m a year in King County, so a 0.5% rate more or less preserves current service, while doing nothing to address traffic diversion when the viaduct is replaced with the DBT.
The $190m in capital improvements for transit is nowhere to be found. WSDOT recently emphasized what an afterthought the transit is in the “tunnel and transit” plan by finding $200m in the seat cushions to fill a shortfall in the highway budget. It shows that with a little creativity someone in Olympia could solve this problem, but no one seems to care.
If you voted for the deep bore tunnel because there were transit improvements in it, the leaders behind ads like this have played you for a sucker.
Goldy at Slog has more on mechanics of the local vote associated with the measure.