City Hall

Mayor Murray: Cut Rail Funding For Buses

Mayor Ed Murray argues that the city should save money by cutting rail funding for buses.

By Erica C. Barnett July 7, 2014

UPDATE: An updated version of the previous document, which a Murray staffer refers to as an "older incorrect version of [the] presentation, shows that Murray plans to allocate about $200,000 that was left over from the Ballard to downtown light rail study to Night Owl service, and put about $500,000 into studying light rail or streetcar service from downtown to the Ship Canal.

Buses should be a priority before light rail. At least during the current Metro funding crisis, Mayor Ed Murray says.

Murray and the Seattle Department of Transporation (SDOT) will argue this week that the city should cut funding for a study about light rail from downtown to Ballard and use the money instead to extend funding for Night Owl bus service between 2:00am and 4:00am, which serves Capitol Hill, Madison Park, University District, Greenlake, Queen Anne, and downtown Seattle. Under the current Metro proposal, those routes are scheduled to be cut. 

The study of light rail between downtown Seattle and Ballard would cost an estimated $150,000 to $550,000 a year.  

Mike Lindblom at the Seattle Times first reported the story.

A Murray staffer said the Murray proposal would save the city money because the night owl expenditure would cost less than the Ballard light rail study. 

We have calls out to Murray—and Sawant, whose socialist reflexes seemed to line up with Murray's social justice reflexes today when she took the mike at a council hearing on a separate issue to say she supported night owl service. Asked if she was endorsing Murray's proposal, her staffer Ted Virdone said: "Her comments were generally [in] strong support of late night bus service. They were not specific about the funding mechanism."  

Sawant and council colleague Nick Licata have a proposal for an employers tax and an increase to the commercial parking tax to prevent the 16 percent cuts in Metro, but haven't addressed the night owl cuts. 


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