Seattle Mayor pushes $1 billion transportation plan as ballot go out

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Mercer-changes

Mercer Street is opening to two-way traffic. (Photo: KCPQ-TV)

SEATTLE – Ballots have already been mailed out for next month’s election, which is less than three weeks away.

In Seattle, Mayor Murray is doing a full-court press in support of his nearly $1 billion transportation levy, the largest in City history.  Murray insists the high price is necessary to relieve congestion and tackle the maintenance backlog.  Doing nothing, he argues would cost even more.

“We will pay it when we sit in buses that cannot move in traffic,” Murray said at a press conference in South Seattle with levy supporters.  “We will pay it when we sit in our cars stuck in traffic.”

Here are the major elements of the Mayor’s Seattle Move Plan:

  • $275 a year for average homeowner
  • Repave 180 miles of arterials
  • Reinforce 16 bridges
  • Create 50 miles bike lanes/150 blocks of sidewalks
  • Establish 7 Rapid Ride Bus corridors

Criticism of this levy is starting to mount.  The Seattle Times argues it doesn’t spend enough to help cars.  The League of Women Voters says it lacks a clear project list.  And now comes the Municipal League, arguing the city doesn’t deserve more money.  “The City’s apparent lack of progress to date in addressing deferred maintenance backlog provides little confidence that this levy will provide a different result,” reads a recent statement by the good government group.

The new plan replaces the existing Bridging the Gap transportation levy, which Seattleites are already paying at an average cost of about $135 per household.