In a few months, King County voters will be asked to invest in the future of our local roads and bus system. In particular, Metro needs additional revenue to avoid crippling cuts to its transit system.

Just a few years ago, Seattle voters had another opportunity to support local roads and buses. Instead of investing in changes to make local streets and transit function without the Alaskan Way Viaduct, voters said they preferred to dig an expensive tunnel underneath the city.

How’s that working out? Not so hot. Imagine how far that money could go if we invested it in machines that actually reach their destinations. Like buses.

Need help visualizing the costs? See (and share!) the infographic below:

Infographic: Bertha vs the Bus

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    Notes: To arrive at Bertha’s per-foot tunneling costs, we divided the cost of the contract to Seattle Tunnel Partners ($1.44 billion) by the number of feet in the 1.7-mile tunnel (8976). We did not factor in costs of the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Project that were not included in the tunnel contract.

    To calculate bus service costs, we divided King County Metro’s 2013 operating expenses ($639.8 million)—which include everything from maintaining vehicles and bus stops to paying drivers to supporting agency overhead—by the overall number of buses in its fleet (1,400).