by Harold S. Taniguchi
Director, King County Dept. of Transportation
After months of hard work, I want to thank the King County Council for embracing many of the Executive’s proposals and adopting our $1.9 billion biennial operating budget and $1.2 billion capital investment plan for 2017-2018.
The adopted budget makes significant investments in 88 Metro Transit bus routes to reduce crowding, improve reliability and increase the frequency of trips on key corridors. It includes infrastructure funding for 2017-18 and a six-year plan of capital investments outlined in Transit’s long range plan, METRO CONNECTS. The budget also invests in safety enhancements, workforce training, and better access to comfort stations.
The Council, in its deliberations and final budget ordinance, recognizes the need to focus resources on our unincorporated road network. The adopted budget reflects Road’s safety and preservation priorities, and Council’s emphasis on delivering drainage and paving/roadway preservation projects.
Riders on the Water Taxi, of whom there are more every year, will be happy to hear the Council set Marine Division revenue at a sustainable level that will keep safe, reliable service going over the course of this biennial budget and into the future. And voter approval in Kitsap County of fast ferries may mean more work for the Division to provide those services by contract.
The budget also supports an increased focus on safety at the Airport, with funds for safety and security improvements, and Fleet Administration can now move ahead with its Automatic Vehicle Location system, enabling managers to view real-time data on 1,600 County vehicles in order to optimize route planning, dispatching, fuel consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions.
I want to thank each of the Councilmembers, and staff at the Council and the Executive’s Office of Performance, Strategy, and Budget, for asking the tough questions and supporting the work of our department. Once again, I am grateful for the dedication of our employees, and look forward to another two years of delivering transportation services to the people of King County.