Afternoon Jolt: Anti-Tunnel Initiative Can't Go On Ballot

By Afternoon Jolt July 18, 2011

Today's loser No. 1: The anti-tunnel initiative.

A King County Superior Court judge ruled from the bench this morning that Initiative 101, which would have barred the state from building the deep-bore tunnel in city right-of-way, can't go on the ballot because it's beyond the scope of the initiative process. Judge Joan DeBuque ruled that the proposed initiative is an attempt by citizens to exercise a power that's legally reserved for the mayor and city council. The sponsor of I-101, rebuild proponent and Magnolia neighborhood activist Elizabeth Campbell, is also a backer of Referendum 1, the anti-tunnel referendum, which will be on the August ballot.

Today's loser No. 2: Metro riders.

King County Metro has already made it abundantly clear what will happen if the King County Council (or, failing that, county voters) fail to pass a temporary $20 license fee to preserve transit service trough 2013: 600,000 fewer hours of service, many routes cut drastically or eliminated entirely, nine million rides lost, and 15,000 more car trips in King County every day.

At a city council briefing this morning, Metro general manager Kevin Desmond highlighted another potential downside to the cuts: As buses get more crowded, public safety could become an even bigger issue. Asked whether Metro planned to beef up its police presence on buses, Desmond said, "The short answer is no. We have a fairly small police force to begin with--65 deputies---and they're spread out all over the county. ... Our operators will bear the brunt of crowded service."
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