In the wake of Prop 1’s county-wide failure, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray wants to save Metro service in the city ... just not through an increase in property taxes. That much is becoming clear.
This afternoon, likely in response to the shellacking he’s taking for going on the offensive against Keep Seattle Moving leader Ben Schiendelman in an interview with The Stranger, Murray issued a statement in which he lays out his priorities and perspective for finding money for Metro. In the statement Murray says Seattle “has always worked best when it works with the region,” and that “transit is a regional issue that requires a regional solution.” He warns that “Seattle as the Lone Ranger on transit” - like through the property tax-hiking I-118 put forward by Keep Seattle Moving, one assumes - risks “the Balkanization of Metro and, to some extent, the isolation of our city from the surrounding region.”
Murray goes on to say that he’ll release his own plan for saving Metro next week. In the meantime, however, he offers three “key principles to keep in mind,” including declaring that “A solution to our immediate needs should support a solution to our long-term needs,” and “We have to get the funding source right.”
Here’s Murray’s full statement:
SEATTLE (May 8, 2014) – Mayor Ed Murray today provided the following statement regarding his plans to offer a temporary proposal for funding transit the wake of the failure of King County’s Proposition 1:
“Seattle has always worked best when it works with the region. While there is no question that the region has failed Seattle on transit funding in recent years, it is equally true that transit is a regional issue that requires a regional solution.
“We must be careful in our approach here: Seattle as the Lone Ranger on transit risks the Balkanization of Metro and, to some extent, the isolation of our city from the surrounding region.
“I appreciate the good efforts already under way in the community on this critical issue after the unfortunate failure of Prop 1. Next week I will offer my own proposal for how we can best keep transit funded, with the following key principles in mind:
1. A solution to our immediate needs should support a solution to our long-term needs: The failure of Prop 1 creates an urgent need to act, and Seattle must move forward now. We can and should offer a temporary financing plan while we remain committed to a conversation with the Legislature and King County about a long-term, solution to funding transit region-wide.
2. Regionalism must be an element of any transit plan: Any transit financing plan – either short-term or long-term – must reflect the reality that Seattle’s economy depends on people coming into the city from throughout the Puget Sound region.
3. We have to get the funding source right: A property tax is one financing tool, but it’s not the only one available. We must consider how our solution today affects our ability to finance other commitments using the property tax, including housing, libraries, parks, transportation infrastructure, preschool, education and other important city priorities. We should explore all options for how we best and most appropriately fund transit without overlooking the broader context.”