Move Seattle levy raises more questions than it answers

Oct 19, 2015, 10:37 AM | Updated: 12:45 pm
Mayor Ed Murray’s Move Seattle levy promises maintenance and repair, including bridge moderni...
Mayor Ed Murray's Move Seattle levy promises maintenance and repair, including bridge modernization. It also promises to ease the city's congestion. But AM 770 KTTH's David Boze says the plan can't be trusted. (MyNorthwest file)
(MyNorthwest file)

The proposed $930 million Seattle transportation levy looks good on the surface, but reasons voters should approve it don’t go very deep.

Mayor Ed Murray’s Move Seattle levy promises maintenance and repair, including bridge modernization. It also promises to ease the city’s congestion.

“We thought by identifying those projects that would improve key corridors, starting to replace bridges and taking care of basics, that we sized it in a way that dealt with the huge backlog that I inherited,” Murray said recently.

However, there’s bound to still be a long line of transportation-related issues even if voters approve the levy that would replace the nine-year Bridging the Gap levy, AM `770 KTTH’s David Boze says.

Related: ‘Most prepared city in America’ continues to underestimates costs

“We’re still going to have a huge backlog if this passes,” Boze says. “Because we have a bunch of other promises here, too.”

There’s also no guarantee, other than the Mayor’s, that the levy will pay for anything worthwhile, Boze explains. The city can double its transportation levy, but it could still end up with all the problems it already has.

“Plus, you can say you’re going to relieve congestion, but you probably won’t,” he adds.

The levy would cost the owner of a $450,000 home about $145 more each year than what Bridging the Gap costs &#8212 about $275 total.

If approved, the levy would invest about $250 million for maintenance and repair. That money wouldn’t do much for a city that has about a $2 billion backlog, The Seattle Times pointed out in its editorial that recommended voters reject the levy. Additionally, the Times points out, the levy would invest $13 million in traffic light signals, less than the $20 million urban forestry would receive.

Giving money to a city marred in delayed projects is a tough idea to swallow, as some critics of the Seattle Department of Transportation have pointed out. Take the seawall project, for example, which is about $71 million over budget and will be reviewed by a consultant for $200,000.

Again, the Mayor is promising a good use of the money. It’s his word.

“Forgive me for not taking it,” Boze says.

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Move Seattle levy raises more questions than it answers