Seattle teenager uses video to promote Prop 1 bus measure

SEATTLE -- King County voters are being asked to dig deep and approve "Proposition 1" to keep Metro bus service intact - or force the system to make devastating cuts. As the fate of Metro service awaits the will of the voters, a 17-year-old in Seattle hopes to spare the system from scaling back with an unusual election pitch.

Chief Sealth High's Sam Orlin helped produce a video showing how important buses are to him and his classmates.

"We've really been trying to get the word out to as many students as possible about the video, especially with the upcoming vote," he said.

Orlin is too young to cast a ballot on Proposition 1, but he still wants a voice. He sent his video to various Seattle high schools to be shown in American Government classrooms. He says Metro is needed more than ever now that yellow school bus service is being scaled back.

"This September, if the buses are being cut, kids are going to struggle to get to school in the morning and get home in the afternoon," Orlin said.

Prop 1 is a combined sales-tax and car-tab fee increase that would raise $1.5 billion over the next 10 years. A portion of that money is also slated for roads, but opponents say Prop 1 is the wrong fix.

"If you are a strong transit supporter, you should vote against this," said Dick Paylor, a member of the Eastside Transportation Association whose name also appears in the voter pamphlet urging the measure be struck down.

Paylor says Metro has a spending problem, pointing out the agency has asked voters four times in eight years for more money to run the system. He says Metro would be better off trimming service to sustainable levels.

"The other thing they need to do is look at increasing the fares more so that the riders are actually paying a bigger percentage of the cost," Paylor said.

Metro officials say if Prop 1 doesn't pass, up to 17 percent of bus routes will be reduced or eliminated system-wide.

Ballots have already been mailed out to registered voters and are due back April 22.