King County voters are rejecting Proposition 1, the measure to fund buses and roads, 55 percent to 45 percent.
The results from Tuesday night mark what appears to be a major defeat for King County Executive Dow Constantine, County Council Chairman Larry Phillips and the labor and business interests that backed the measure.
Assuming a countywide turnout of 38 percent – King County’s pre-election estimate – there are approximately 82,000 remaining votes left to count in the Proposition 1 race. The yes campaign would need about 73 percent of the remaining votes to catch up.
Proposition 1 called for a sales-tax boost of 0.1 percent, or a dime per $100 purchase; plus a yearly $60 car-tab fee, to replace a $20 fee that expires this summer. Metro would get 60 percent, while the remaining 40 percent would be split among city and county street departments.
Without more income, Metro has said it would cut service by 16 percent —just as ridership is growing. County buses carry about 400,000 riders a day, similar to record levels in 2008.
Operating costs have grown an average 2.4 percent a year since then, but sales-tax income plummeted, not returning to pre-recession levels until 2013. That left a structural deficit of about $75 million a year.
Staff reporter Justin Mayo contributed.