Questions and answers about the Transit Now initiative from King County

How much money would a one-tenth of one percent sales tax increase raise?

It will provide approximately $50 million in new transit revenues annually.

What would it cost my family?

The average household in King County would pay approximately $25 more a year in sales tax -- less than the cost of a tank of gas.

What can Metro do with that much extra money?

With that amount of new revenue, Metro can add up to 700,000 hours of new transit service annually. The plan is to concentrate new service in four areas: create Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) on five congested corridors; increase the number of bus routes and frequency of service between key areas of the county; provide new service for growing residential areas; and develop transit services for business centers in partnership with local cities and private companies.

How do you know people want more transit service?

When Metro offers more service, people use it. Overall, Metro's ridership increased by 2 million passenger trips in 2005. Park-and-ride use is up in all areas of King County. One week after the new Issaquah Highlands Park-and-Ride opened this February, 400 cars were parked there - one month later it was 600 vehicles. When the economy is strong, employment goes up and so does bus ridership.

How does this improve Metro's overall system?

There will be more frequent, more reliable bus service operating more hours of the day and more days of the week. There will be better connections with other transit service, such as light rail, and better mobility during construction of upcoming highway projects. Technology will be used to synchronize traffic signals to speed transit travel time and reduce congestion of all traffic in busy corridors, and to provide real-time bus arrival information at transit centers and high-volume transfer points. New service is planned for growing residential areas like East Redmond, Sammamish, Maple Valley, and Enumclaw.

There was a similar initiative in 2000 for a two-tenths of a percent sales tax increase. What happened to that money?

Voters approved Proposition 1 in 2000, which replaced some of the funds lost when the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax was eliminated after the passage of Initiative 695. Most of the Prop. 1 money was devoted to maintaining the then-current levels of Metro service and avoiding drastic cuts. It was also used to build new park-and-ride lots to help relieve rush-hour congestion; provide more frequent service on a limited number of key corridors; add new connections between employment centers; buy new hybrid buses; and synchronize traffic signals in the county and local cities to keep all vehicles moving. All of those promised projects have been completed.