King County Metro could cut 74 bus routes

SEATTLE -- Officials from King County Metro Transit announced drastic service cuts on Thursday that will go into effect soon if the county can't make-up for a $75 Million budget shortfall.

"They will damage our economy and people's lives," King County Executive Dow Constantine said to a packed office overlooking Metro's downtown Seattle bus barn.

Without an influx of money, 74 bus routes would be deleted and 107 more would be reduced. Metro officials say a total of 50,000 daily trips would vanish.

The cuts wouldn't begin for another year, but riders are already bracing for the impact.

"I definitely need the bus," rider Noe Lani said. "I'm not looking forward to that, if they start doing that."

Metro and county officials say they've slashed budgets to the point where reducing them more isn't an option. They say the one option that would end the cuts would be going after car owners and increasing the county's motor vehicle excise tax.

Councilman, Larry Phillips says the County would put the potential increase to a vote. However, getting the measure on the next ballot requires authorization from State Lawmakers.

Several County leaders traveled to Olympia today in an effort to find a solution to the problem.