Ballots due today in transit package vote

Today is the last day to vote in this month's special election regarding transit funding.

Signed ballots must be postmarked by today, April 22, or dropped off at one of the ballot drop box locations by 8 p.m.

Voters in King County are being asked to vote on a sales tax increase of 0.1 percent and an annual vehicle fee of $60 to prevent cuts in Metro bus service and to provide transportation dollars to local cities.

Sixty percent of money raised would go to Metro, while 40 percent would come back to the cities for roads.

An analysis of the possible cuts by the City of Renton late last year shows that while Renton will face cuts if the proposition is not approved, our city would not be hit as hard as others. Six routes would be deleted, 10 routes revised and six would remain unchanged.

It is an overall loss of 4 percent to the Renton area, compared with some areas of the county facing a reduction of 69 percent.

Most of the high ridership routes would be unchanged, including the 101, 102, 140, 153, 169 and 906.

According to a memo prepared by Public Works Administrator Gregg Zimmerman, Metro routes 110, 161, 167, 908DART and 909DART would be the ones eleted.

Route 110 runs from the Longacres Sounder Station, through the Renton Transit Center to North Renton and terminating at the Kenworth/PAccar plant. It runs 10 trips in each direction per day. According to the memo, however, this route runs parallel to the new RapidRide F-Line, which begins in June, and would have been deleted anyway, though a longer walking distance between stops is expected for most riders.

Route 161 is a peak-hour weekday-only service from the East Hill of kent to Seattle. It passes through Renton via 108th Avenue Southeast, Carr Road, Lind Avenue and Grady Way. If it is deleted, riders will have to use route 169 which has connections to Seattle through the Renton Transit Center, though the overall trip time will likely increase because of a transfer.

Route 167 is a peak-hour weekday service from Renton to the University District, via the South Renton Park and Ride and the Renton Transit Center. If deleted, riders could use the 101 to Seattle and connect there to the University District.

Route 280 is a night owl service around Lake Washington, including Renton. It only operates two trips nightly in the early morning hours. No other fixed route options would be available to third-shifters and night owls.

The 908DART route operates weekdays and Saturdays and runs from Downtown Renton to Renton Highlands (south of Sunset Boulevard), Renton Technical College and the Maplewood neighborhood. The 105 could provide an alternative for some, but it may require longer walks or drives to transit stops.

The 909DART runs from downtown to the Highlands (north of Sunset) and Kennydale. The 105 and 240 may provide an alternative for some, but again, longer walks to stops will most likely be necessary.

Revisions would also be necessary to the following Metro routes: 105, 106, 107, 111, 114, 143 EX, 148, 240, 342 and 907DART.

A simple majority is needed for passage of the measure. Check tomorrow for results.

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