King County Metro has missed capital project deadlines consistently since 2017



(The Center Square) – A new audit has revealed that King County Metro increased spending since 2017 but has missed its spending forecasts by at least 33%.

Metro’s spending went from $111.6 million in 2017-2018 to $170.9 million in 2019-2020 and then to $216.7 million in 2021-2022. The King County Auditor’s Office claims that the lag in spending is caused by completing projects late or delaying them, rather than delivering projects under budget.

King County Metro planned for its Capital Improvement Program to increase from $390 million for the 2017-2018 biennium budget to approximately $770 million in the 2027-2028 budget. Yet, spending forecasts have been missed by at least 33%.

The county’s 2023–2024 budget dedicates $1.6 billion for public transportation infrastructure over its six-year planning period. That makes up nearly 25% of the $7 billion total.

Metro plans to spend over $726 million on capital projects during the 2023–2024 biennium budget, according to the audit. Of the $726 million, the department plans to spend $565 million on fixed asset capital projects, an increase of 161% over what it spent in the 2021–2022 budget.

Notably, Ridership rates for King County Metro drastically dropped as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. There were 123.5 million million boardings in 2019. That dropped to 58.4 million boardings in 2020 and 51.3 million in 2021.

The department did not have boarding statistics for December 2022. Through the end of November, King County Metro’s boarding rate for the year was 58.2 million rides.

The King County Auditor’s Office recommends Metro to work with project managers and staff to better understand its capacity to complete projects and improve estimation practices.

King County Metro is also working to have its entire bus fleet produce zero emissions by 2035. The auditor’s office expects substantial capital funding will be needed to achieve full fleet electrification by 2035.

“Metro Transit has implemented several improved processes, project management frameworks, and oversight functions to its capital planning and delivery since becoming a department in 2019, and these improvements have helped management better understand project status and priority,” the audit states. “However, Metro Transit needs to ensure it can help staff understand and manage the many changes it is asking of them.”

The audit goes on to state that the department continues to struggle with its estimations of how much work it can do over time and how long projects will take to complete. The department recommends Metro leadership ensure it completes its many initiatives and is set up to evaluate and improve them with reliable data and input from its staff.

“While Metro’s ability to delivery capital projects is impacted by a number of internal and external factors, Metro is actively working on a Capital Business Transformation process intended to move capital projects more efficiently through the planning and delivery phases,” King County Metro’s Capital Division Director Mark Ellerbrook said to The Center Square in an email. “The end result will the faster delivery of impactful, mobility focused projects.”

Read the Black Chronicle Black History Edition for Free! Click Below

Read the Black Chronicle Black History Edition for Free! Click Below



Share post:


More like this

Spokane floats commercial rent control despite potential legal challenges

(The Center Square) – Spokane is considering whether to...

Many celebrate as military education benefit program restored

(The Center Square) — Two months after lawmakers passed...

Texas OLS surpasses 516,000 apprehensions of illegal border crossers

(The Center Square ) – Texas’ border security mission,...

Police officer demoted following sensitive social media post

(The Center Square) – Ten days without pay and...