Rising costs: Seattleites may have to pay $41 per month for transportation levy

May 4, 2024, 12:42 PM | Updated: Jun 5, 2024, 3:54 pm

Photo: I-5 near Seneca Street in Seattle....

I-5 near Seneca Street in Seattle. (Photo: Chris Sullivan, KIRO Newsradio)

(Photo: Chris Sullivan, KIRO Newsradio)

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell unveiled an updated transportation levy proposal that would cost residents $41 per month.

The eight-year, $1.45 billion levy would fund transportation safety and maintenance in Seattle, according to a news release from the Office of the Mayor.

The news release states the proposal was composed following a public comment period and is “shaped by community input.”

“Over the last month, we’ve received feedback from thousands of Seattle residents who want a transportation system that is safe, connected, and well maintained — this proposal will help get us there,” Harrell said in the news release. “With a focus on the essential needs of our city and its residents, this levy proposal will deliver projects and improvements to keep people moving and to keep people safe. No matter your preferred method of transportation, these investments are designed to make trips safer, more reliable, and better connected, so every Seattleite can get where they need to go.”

Friday’s proposal asks for an additional $100 million. The current levy costs residents, with a median home with a tax-assessed value of $866,000, $24 per month. The proposed levy would be an additional $17 per month.

Harrell’s office said the extra funds are needed for sidewalk construction and repairs, enhanced pedestrian and bicyclist connectivity to light rail stations, transit access and reliability, bridge maintenance and long-term replacement planning, and maintenance and modernization of Seattle’s streets.

How would the sum of more than billion dollars be used?

The largest chunk of the $1.45 billion — $423 million — would go toward repaving main roads that carry the most buses, trucks and cars. It would also improve infrastructure for people walking, rolling, biking and taking transit.

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The second largest amount, $221 million, would go to keeping the city’s bridges in working condition and preparing for future bridge projects.

Over $150 million would go to community-requested safety improvements to streets, sidewalks, intersections, and crossings to reduce traffic collisions, severe injuries and fatalities

Around $140 million would go to connecting people safely to transit hubs like the Link light rail and bus stops and lessening delays on bus routes. Another $135 million would go to building and preparing sidewalks, crossings and curb ramps.

Everything bike, from expanding protected bike lanes to connecting schools to bike paths, would get $114 million.

Nearly $70 million would be for activating public spaces with business districts and another $100 million would go to installing and upgrading traffic signals.

Reducing air pollution and creating sustainable transportation options would take $59 million.

Last, $25 million would go to supporting trucks delivering goods and $5 million would establish a Transportation Funding Task Force, along with increasing sidewalk repairs.

“After a month of consultation with the public, Mayor Harrell has made the transportation levy proposal even better with additional investments in walking, biking and transit,” said Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) Director Greg Spotts. “The revised proposal would give SDOT 17% more purchasing power to maintain our modernize our streets than the current levy to Move Seattle.”

Next steps for Seattle transportation levy

Next, Seattle City Council member Rob Saka will chair the Select Committee on the 2024 Transportation Levy. According to a news release from Saka’s office, the committee is made up of all nine council members tasked with reviewing and updating the mayor’s proposal and putting forth a final proposed levy package before voters this fall.

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The first meeting of the committee is Tuesday.

“We have an incredible opportunity right now to roll up our sleeves and build a better future for Seattle. Building and maintaining bridges, roads, sidewalks, bike lanes and buses may seem like the boring work of government, but few things shape the way we interact with our city and connect with each other more. We have a tremendous responsibility to get this right and deliver the everyday basics in an extraordinary way,” Saka said in the news release.

Once approved by the committee, the proposal will go to the council for a final vote. If approved, the levy will be on the ballot this November.

According to Harrell’s office, Seattle’s current transportation levy provides around 30% of SDOT’s budget and expires this year.

Julia Dallas is a content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read her stories here. Follow Julia on X, formerly known as Twitter, here and email her here.

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Rising costs: Seattleites may have to pay $41 per month for transportation levy