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Seattle City Council passes $1.55 billion Transportation Levy

SEATTLE — The Seattle City Council unanimously approved a $1.55 billion Transportation Levy package Tuesday.

According to a media release from the City Council, the levy aims to enhance safety, maintenance, and modernization while “limiting the impact on taxpayers.”

“This is a cost-effective investment that will save lives. Through collaboration and compromise, we have won a consensus levy proposal that will deliver on the everyday basics in an extraordinary way. From filling potholes and keeping our bridges running to addressing the safety crisis on our streets, this is an investment in our future that our entire community can be proud of,” said Seattle Councilmember Rob Saka.

The current transportation levy, which accounts for roughly 30% of the Seattle Department of Transportation’s budget, is set to expire this year.

Once Mayor Bruce Harrell signs, the new levy will be put to a final vote in November.

Funding Breakdown

The $1.55 billion will be allocated as follows:

  • $403 million for street maintenance and modernization.
  • $221 million for bridge infrastructure and safety.
  • $193 million for pedestrian safety.
  • $160.5 million for Vision Zero and school and neighborhood safety.
  • $151 million for improving transit corridors and connections.
  • $133.5 million for bicycle safety.
  • $100 million for traffic signals and mobility improvements.
  • $69 million for climate change initiatives and environmental protection.
  • $66.5 million for activating public spaces, neighborhoods, and business districts.
  • $45 million for freight transportation system improvements.
  • $7.5 million for governance, oversight, and property tax relief education.

The proposal also includes a $1.5 million fund for community outreach and education about property tax exemptions for seniors, people with disabilities, and disabled veterans.

According to the Seattle City Council, the package emphasizes accountability and transparency. It includes detailed spending requirements, strengthens the levy’s oversight committee, and provides funding for auditing.

Property owners will fund the levy with an estimated property tax bill of $499 per year for the median assessed value home, an increase of $18.58 per month compared to the expiring levy.

Mayor Bruce Harrell expressed his support, saying, “This proposal invests in the critical infrastructure Seattle needs to support a safe, sustainable, and reliable transportation system. I look forward to signing this legislation tomorrow.”

Councilmember Joy Hollingsworth added, “We’re charting a new path focused on delivering the bold basics of local government. This levy will address infrastructure inequities and keep Seattle moving forward.”

Nicole Grant of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 36 highlighted the economic benefits, saying, “This levy will create thousands of living-wage, union jobs in our community. This is about investing in our people, and when Seattle does that, we can accomplish great things.”

Former Seattle city councilmember Alex Pedersen issued a statement opposing the levy, saying, “It’s insensitive for politicians to act like cheerleaders for such a massive transportation tax increase while renters, homeowners, and small businesses struggle to stay in Seattle. Why would anyone want to pay more than $500 each year to let SDOT aggravate traffic congestion, leave most roads in worse condition, and fail to fix dangerous bridges?”

”No matter how lobbyists try to sugarcoat the largest tax in Seattle’s history, it’s up to voters to reject City Hall’s unaffordable, unfair, and ineffective transportation levy and send it back to the drawing board,” Pedersen added.

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