Lambert stands firm on Metro vote

King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert knows she upset people with her Monday, Aug. 15 vote in support of, among other things, a $20 fee for King County residents' car tabs. She also knows she'd upset people if she voted against the funding plan that will keep Metro buses operating next year without a 17 percent cut.

"I can guarantee you, voting 'no' would have been much simpler," she said in a phone call Friday, "but it wasn't the best long-term solution."

Metro was facing a billion-dollar revenue shortfall over the next two years, which could have resulted in a 17 percent cut in services across the board, or about 600,000 less hours annually. Fewer bus hours would mean in more cars on the road and ultimately, more traffic problems, Lambert said, so "You'll either have people mad now, or mad later."

Lambert and Jane Hague made at least one person very mad. Each councilwoman received a death threat by phone a few days after the vote. The same man made both threats, and the King County Sheriff's Office is currently investigating.

Both Lambert and Hague were initially opposed to the car tab fee, but, after in-depth negotiations with other council members, they announced Friday, Aug. 12, that they supported the fee as part of a larger transit funding plan.

"We felt that solving the problem was something that people wanted done," she said.  The compromise includes incentives for people to take public transportation, decreases in the ride-free areas in downtown Seattle, and eight free bus tickets to every household that pays the fee.


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