Expand King County Metro

Fund a planned Metro expansion via a King County Transportation District on a ballot measure in 2022 or 2024.

King County Metro

King County Metro has ambitious plans to expand, as part of King County's efforts to meet its climate goals. This is laid out in Metro Connects, Metro's long range planning document. The key changes from the previous Metro Connects plan are:

  • More frequent service and all-day service

  • Added service to address South King County equity gaps

  • RapidRide lines decrease from 26 to 19-23 in 2050 network

  • Future RapidRide lines become "candidates" rather than named lines

Service hours were 3.855M in 2019, and under the new plan would be 5.5M in the interim network, growing to 7.25M in the 2050 network. Projected ridership is set to almost double from 2019 to 2050.

As background context for this, note that King County's growth plans include adding 1.8 million residents and 1.2 million jobs by 2050. These means that there will be increased need for better transit, but it also means there will be more people to share the cost.

Below is a conceptual view of what the networks would look like.

These are the levels of service that Metro would like to provide, and not what it currently has funding to provide. It has provided a cost analysis of the new networks in order that Council may use them to put together a funding plan. Council's adoption of the plan represents according to Council President Balducci, an intent to provide the funding. The table to the right is a summary of the cost estimates.

The Capital costs include funding for an all-zero emissions bus fleet.

Baseline estimates would require a decrease in service if there are no new revenues. These numbers were done before Federal funds for transit, and before sales tax income rebounded.

How can this funding be secured? Metro Connects says: "Metro will only achieve Metro Connects through a cycle of growing its network and connecting people to mobility services, measuring progress, demonstrating value, securing additional funding, and continuing to grow. " Further, Metro Connects reports: "Metro’s revenue sources include sales taxes, fares, property taxes, federal and state grant funding, with sales tax representing metro’s primary revenue source. Using a sales tax as Metro’s primary revenue source amplifies the challenge of sustainable and equitable funding. Sales taxes are volatile and regressive. Property taxes— another available funding source—are also regressive. The region could pursue many funding approaches, including sources that may be more equitable and less regressive. A 2019 report to the King County Council included potential funding options, although these may evolve based on changes at the state or local levels. "