The Pending 17% Services Cut to Seattle Metro / by Kevin Swantek

The Seattle Metro (Seattle's transit system) faces a 17% cut in service. A proposed measure to stem the cuts was mailed out in April, asking Seattle voters to raise car tabs to $60, and add a tenth of a cent to the sales tax (expiring after 10 years). The measure was rejected by 55%, leaving Seattle Metro little other choice but to cut service, or find another solution. To date the city is trying to find new solutions to solve this deficit.

According to Forbes online Seattle is one the 20 fastest growing cities in the US, and according to a relatively recent study, also has Seattle listed as the 4th worst traffic in the nation. So as Seattle continues to grow, and if transit service continues to be cut, so to will the traffic problems likely worsen.

What does this mean for the working class poor, and lower middle class? To my mind, it means getting priced out of the city, and pushed further away (both geographically and monetarily) from the cultural opportunities that Seattle has to offer. With rent continuing to rise (as brand new apartment buildings demand higher rent, and surrounding rentals adjusting to remain competitive), the problem of keeping Seattle a thriving cultural hub for all will become all the more difficult.

What happens when families are forced to move out of the city, towards cheaper rent, but they can't afford the price of gas to commute into Seattle daily? What good is a city's transit service if its unable to meet the needs of its riders? With reduced transit service, how much longer will daily commutes become? And, what happens when that valuable time is taken away from families?

If I had one argument to make, it would be that every city should be obligated to provide its citizens' with the resources and infrastructure needed to create a standard for "quality of life" that isn't merely just barely surviving. What cultural value is there in a city where only the wealthiest can afford to live?