Seattle’s ‘bolder’ transportation levy could cost residents even more

Jun 27, 2024, 5:44 PM

Photo: Downtown Seattle....

Seattle City Council member Tammy Morales has proposed a "bolder levy focused on improving traffic safety." (Photo: @nickfalbo/Flickr Creative Commons)

(Photo: @nickfalbo/Flickr Creative Commons)

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell’s proposed $1.45 billion levy may get even bigger as Seattle City Council (SCC) member Tammy Morales has proposed a “bolder levy focused on improving traffic safety,” according to a news release from the Seattle City Council.

Morales is proposing an additional $150 million to Harrell’s levy with $90 million to safer streets, sidewalks and bike lanes; $45 million to strengthen roads and modernize parts of the city; and $15 million to plant more trees in Seattle.

Harrell’s levy would cost property owners an additional $41 per month and Morales’ proposal would tack on another $4.50 per month bringing the total to $45.50 per month.

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

In a press conference on Thursday, Morales connected the levy with Vision Zero, Seattle’s goal to end traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030. She said last year there were 167 traffic-related deaths in King County, an 11% increase from the year before.

“These are deaths that could have been prevented if we were bold enough to prioritize designing our streets,” Morales said.

In the currently proposed levy, 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.

Polls reveal majority support of larger Seattle transportation levy

The SCC’s news release referenced a Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) poll asking if residents would prefer a $1.7 billion levy or a $1.2 billion version. Out of a survey of 1,000 voters, the majority said they wanted the larger version, according to the Urbanist in January.

The survey, as reported by the Urbanist, highlighted a new RapidRide line connecting Rainier Beach with Eastlake via Capitol Hill and Beacon Hill. It also noted the $1.7 billion would go toward a full rebuild of East Marginal Way South and upgrades to the Ballard and Fremont bridges, which were originally promised to voters in 2015 but not achieved due to lack of funding.

The Northwest Progressive Institute conducted a poll in May which also revealed majority support for a larger levy.

“I have heard loud and clear from constituents in every single council district during our public hearings that voters want a bolder transportation levy package that prioritizes safety investments for all,” Morales stated in the release. “This council has a once-in-a-decade opportunity to shape our city’s transportation investments to center mobility and safety for all who use our streets.”

Morals said she expects the council to vote on her proposal Tuesday morning.

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

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