As we noted in Fizz this morning, Mayor Mike McGinn and his challenger, state Sen. Ed Murray, differed during a debate last night about whether the city of Seattle should go it alone with a "local" transit tax: McGinn said yes, Murray said no, he would not support a local Metro vote "at this point."
(During the last legislative session, the state senate failed to pass a transportation proposal that would have given King County the authority to ask voters to pass a countywide tax for transportation; without the extra revenue, Metro estimates it could have to cut service by as much as 17 percent).
Today, noting that we've higlighted this substantive disagreement as a thematic difference between the candidates before, we asked both campaigns to elaborate.
Murray said he was referring specifically to a Seattle-only measure, and that he would support a King County transit tax that was more regional in nature.
Talking to PubliCola this afternoon, Murray said, "If we go it alone the system won’t get money by itself. I really do think we can get this issue solved, but ... we need a regional, countywide bus system" that serves people who commute in and out of Seattle, not just within it, Murray said. "People who live in Seattle work on the Eastside. We need a regional, countywide bus system that works for them too. I believe that if Seattle acts unilaterally without solving hte countywide problem, we won't solve the problem."
Aaron Pickus, a spokesman for McGinn, backed off a bit from McGinn's uncompromising statement last night, telling PubiCola, "We would want to talk to stakeholders about what people think is the best approach—whether it's a city vote or a county vote. ... We would want to talk to transit advocates, including Metro and other stakeholders, before choosing a specific policy."
But Pickus said McGinn would be open to the idea of a Seattle-only transit funding plan.