West Seattle residents protest proposed Metro bus cuts

SEATTLE - Emotions were flaring in West Seattle Monday where protesters were speaking out against proposed mass transit cuts.

King County Metro officials have proposed to remove 74 bus routes in King County beginning June of 2014 through the summer of 2015.

"I'm going to have to either start riding a bike or I'm not going to have a way to get to work easily," said West Seattle local Joe Szilagyi.

Szilagyi says his commute from West Seattle into the city will become almost unbearable if the cuts take place. Metro would remove five routes in his community. Szilagyi and the protesters say the cuts would be unacceptable. They predict bottlenecking over the West Seattle Bridge.

"You take away the busses, the bridge is going to be a complete standstill," Szilagyi said.

Fares pay for 27 percent of the service. Property and sales tax revenue make up the rest, but those revenues are down.

The proposal would cut 17 percent from the King County Metro budget. The cuts will jump 27 percent for West Seattle when funds to offset congestion caused by the viaduct project expire in 2014.

The King County Council will vote on whether to approve the cuts early next year. Metro would begin cutting routes to West Seattle in June and all 74 routes in King County would be phased out by 2015.