Seattle bus transit is a lifeline. It’s time to find an equitable solution to save Metro service

Real Change News – June 4, 2014

By House Speaker Frank Chopp

Our local bus transit system is a lifeline for our city and impacts our overall health as a community. Every day, people rely on it to get to work and go to school. Traffic congestion would be far worse without it.

Like all of you, I value the service and reliability that King County Metro Transit provides to the citizens of our great city and region. And I was disappointed by the recent failure of Proposition 1, a countywide ballot measure to support our transit system.

Bus riders have contributed their fair share to a balanced funding plan: Fares for riders have been raised four times over the last several years.

At a time when transit ridership is increasing among all populations including low-wage workers, the elderly, people with disabilities and minorities, we should not be slashing service. But with Metro facing an annual budget shortfall of $75 million, the transit agency plans to slash 16 percent of service, eliminating 72 routes and revising or reducing 84 other ones. Last year, the state House of Representatives approved a balanced transportation revenue package, which included local options for transit funding as requested by King County, City of Seattle and other local leaders. However, the Republican-dominated state Senate refused to act on this or any package, therefore forcing King County to rely on its existing authority. As a result,

Prop. 1 was put on the ballot this past April and met its fate. As we continue to pursue more progressive funding sources for the future, there are two near-term actions that would be in order:

The City of Seattle should take action

I appreciate Mayor Ed Murray’s recent proposal, which would increase the sales tax by 0.1 percent and enact a $60 car-tab fee, to fund local transit and prevent cuts to service in the wake of the failure of Prop. 1. Voters in

Seattle strongly supported Prop. 1, which clearly shows public support for action in our local communities. Without action by the City of Seattle, Metro will begin to implement the first round of bus service cuts this fall. These cuts would be devastating to our local neighborhoods and economy.

A more balanced approach to transit funding should be considered

Recently, Seattle City councilmembers Nick Licata and Kshama Sawant introduced an amendment to the mayor’s plan that includes replacing a sales tax increase in part with an employer-based tax of up to $18 for each hourly employee. This idea could provide a more balanced approach to funding bus transit, which already relies too heavily on sales tax revenue. There is logic in this, since businesses throughout our city rely on bus transit for their employees to get to work and for customers to show up at their doors.

At the same time, such an approach could be a more progressive answer to transit funding. While I personally support every effort to minimize the impact on low-income populations, I agree that the most regressive outcome of this effort is a devastating loss of bus service.

Affordable access to transit is imperative to our long-term success. Whatever the final plan, we need to work together as a community to make sure the solution is as fair and progressive as possible. These services are vital to Seattle and its residents, and I urge all of you to contact your city councilmembers to encourage them to support funding for this important service.

View the original article at Real Change: http://realchangenews.org/index.php/site/archives/9020

Press Release
State Representative Frank Chopp Calls for Action on Law Enforcement Reforms

Progressive leader on housing, health care and education will help bring needed focus to pressing, community-driven reforms to policing and racial bias.  Seattle – State Representative Frank Chopp (D-Seattle) is calling for urgent legislative action on a package to address law enforcement training, conduct, and funding. “For many days, Americans across the nation have peacefully … Continued

Press Release
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LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT NO. 43 Representative Position No. 2: Frank Chopp The SECB loves a badass socialist. (See Sawant, Kshama.) But socialist Jess Spear didn’t convince us she’s ready to bring the people’s revolution to Olympia, and we think longtime House Speaker Frank Chopp and his maddening incrementalism will actually do more for the issues we care about, … Continued


5. Progressive Change

5 Progressive Change “Thanks to Frank’s work electing a progressive majority in the legislature, the Washington legislature became the first in the country to repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and enact marriage equality. Frank is a passionate advocate for social justice and civil rights for all.” – Jamie Pedersen, State Senator, 43rd District


4. The Safety Net

4 The Safety Net “Frank always stands up for the most vulnerable in our community. He led the effort to expand services to help the homeless, including saving and reforming the Disability Lifeline program for the mentally ill and others with disabilities.” – Tony Lee, Statewide Poverty Action Network


3. Education

3 Education “Teachers and parents know they have a progressive leader in Frank Chopp for education. He led the way for a new $1.3 billion investment in K-12 Basic Education and he will continue to close tax loopholes and identify new funding sources to meet our obligation to our schools.” – Kate Sipe, teacher at … Continued


2. The Environment

2 The Environment “With Frank’s strong leadership, we passed the toughest laws in the nation banning toxic chemicals. I can always count on Frank to protect our children from toxic toys and our environment from harmful chemicals.” – Laurie Valeriano, environmental health advocate


1. Supporting Working People

1 Supporting Working People “As a community activist and then as a legislator, Frank Chopp played an important role in raising the state minimum wage to the highest in the country. In the legislature, Frank is the leader standing up for working people and a Shared Prosperity agenda — passing paid sick leave, preventing wage … Continued


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Seattle Times – September 17, 2013 A proposed $15-an-hour minimum wage for hospitality and transportation workers in SeaTac scored endorsements Tuesday from 20 elected Democrats, including U.S. Rep. Adam Smith, King County Executive Dow Constantine and state House Speaker Frank Chopp. Read more: http://seattletimes.com/html/businesstechnology/2021844114_seatacmeasurexml.html


SeaTac minimum wage proposal scores key endorsements.

Twenty Democratic officeholders announced their support for a union-backed measure that would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour for hospitality and transportation workers in SeaTac. Seattle Times – September 17, 2013 By Amy Martinez Seattle Times business reporter A proposed $15-an-hour minimum wage for hospitality and transportation workers in SeaTac scored endorsements Tuesday from … Continued

As #pride month comes to a close, I’m thinking about the incredible progress we’ve made on LGBTQ rights — and I’m reminded of the work we still have to do.

Last year, advocates asked us to ban medical discrimination. I worked with my seatmates Rep. Nicole Macri and Sen. Jamie Pedersen to pass SB 5602 to guarantee access to gender-affirming reproductive healthcare for all Washingtonians.

When advocates asked us to protect transgender students, we passed SB 5689 to ban discrimination based on gender expression in public schools.

And when advocates asked us to improve equity in state government, we established the Washington State LGBTQ Commission.

For all our progress, we must do more to protect the most vulnerable in the #lgbtq community — especially trans women.

Last year, Nikki Kuhnhausen was murdered in Vancouver, WA. She was just 17 years old, and she was one of 330 trans people killed worldwide in 2019.
Our work for justice & civil rights is far from over. I promise to listen to the trans community, work with them to develop policies to protect their lives, & fight like hell to get it passed. #transrightsarehumanrights
...

Thank you @cmtmosqueda for your support! On affordable housing, expanded childcare, COVID relief, and so many other issues, I’m eager to work together for Seattle’s working families! ...

Let’s reinvest police funding in affordable housing and social services! I raised millions of dollars for the future Youth Opportunity Center at Broadway/Pine, which will create 80 apartments for homeless youth. This type of community investment is a much better use of public funds than using toxic chemicals against peaceful protesters #seattleprotest #capitolhillautonomouszone ...

I strongly support these reforms, proposed by @girmay, and I pledge to work with community leaders to make them happen. We need WAY more funding for housing, homeless services, and our social safety net. Reducing police funding to pay for these priorities shouldn’t be controversial. ...

I pledge to take #NoFossilFuelMoney. Climate change is the defining issue of our time. I will fight for a Clean Fuel Standard, investments in transit, cleanups for toxic sites, and everything else we need to defeat the climate crisis. Join my campaign to say no to the fossil fuel industry and yes to a livable future for us all. ...