BUSES: Transportation Benefit District sales-tax renewal proposed for November ballot

You might recall recent coverage here with Metro warning that the service funded by Seattle’s Transportation Benefit District tax is in danger of going away because the tax was expiring. Mayor Durkan has just announced a proposed six-year renewal – via a news release (see it here) that mentions West Seattle 13 times, though without any specifics – aside from the last line on the provided graphic below. The proposal would continue the 0.1 percent sales tax, and the city says that “is projected to generate between $20 and $30 million annually over the next six years,” broken down as follows:

The current TBD funding also includes a $60 car-tab tax, but that’s not possible now because of I-976. If approved by the City Council, this will go to voters in November.

(For context, here’s how the expiring TBD measure was presented by then-Mayor Ed Murray in 2014.)

12 Replies to "BUSES: Transportation Benefit District sales-tax renewal proposed for November ballot"

  • M July 7, 2020 (2:11 pm)

    We just passed that billion dollar “move Seattle” levy. What have we gotten for that other than a broke down bridge. 

    • WSB July 7, 2020 (3:24 pm)

      That was four years ago and the bridge wasn’t part of it, although funding from it might factor into bridge costs at some point…

    • skeeter July 7, 2020 (4:40 pm)

      M- what have we gotten for that?  Have you seen the improvements on Avalon?  Have you seen the Lander St. Bridge – almost complete?  Have you seen the work that just started on Delridge?  

    • chemist July 7, 2020 (10:39 pm)

      The levy was allocated into three broad spending categories with a illustrative, but not prescriptive, list of projects (spending breakdown).  One category was
      “Maintenance and Repair Programs. The City shall appropriate $420 million in Levy Proceeds for maintenance and repair. The Levy includes the following Maintenance and Repair programs:  • Bridge and Structures Maintenance  • Bridge Seismic Improvements  • Bridge Replacement  • Arterial Roadway Maintenance  • Paving Spot Improvements  • Drainage Partnerships  • Tree Trimming and Tree Planting 
      The Spending Breakdown (Attachment A) provides additional information about the  anticipated deliverables, anticipated spending amounts, and the anticipated revenue sources; but the Spending Breakdown is illustrative only and shall not be mandatory.”The Move Seattle levy wasn’t for KC Metro though.

  • TJ July 7, 2020 (4:14 pm)

    Another temporary tax that will not simply be let to go away. Metro is a county tax funded service, but of course Seattle wanted more than what was provided. I get it though, with the bridge issue now. But cue up the comments on how this isn’t enough to add even more service, never mind the projected revenue issues we will hear from Covid that is affecting current service 

    • The King July 7, 2020 (8:02 pm)

      Based on metro’s 2018 budget, it really may not provide much service but it’s something I guess. The operating costs then were $650,000,000 (payroll, fuel, equipment purchasing etc), the entire budget fell between 1.5 and 1.8 billion dollars. If they weren’t 77% subsidized it would cost $24 to take a trip downtown per person, that’s just to break even on the budget. With new guidelines for seating in place, if followed, looks like 8-10 passengers will be allowed on the short buses. Which will cut passenger revenues into about a third. Metro’s future is in trouble. 

  • Gxnx July 7, 2020 (4:16 pm)

    Is there a list of all the levies that were passed or failed?
    What those Levies for and how much
    Dollars$?Did the levies solve the issues?

  • Mj July 7, 2020 (5:06 pm)

    The City is proposing spending $5,000,000 on PR for the WSB closure fiasco.  Why not use this $ for added bus service?

  • flimflam July 8, 2020 (5:47 am)

    these “expiring” levies never seem to actually go away do they?

  • anonyme July 8, 2020 (7:55 am)

    I’m not voting for this without more specifics.  Metro has a history of vowing to increase service when what they actually do is increase service on one route at the expense of another.  Large areas of West Seattle currently have no service at all, yet the outline above emphasizes 15-minute scheduling.  I have also seen suggestions that Metro intends to permanently suspend fares at the end of the year, which would mean another huge tax increase and/or levy.  The fare suspension is ridiculous, especially at a time when Metro is claiming to be starved of funds.  I wrote to Dow Constantine about the lack of service in West Seattle but was never honored with a response.

  • BigB July 8, 2020 (7:57 pm)

    I’m still waiting for the mono-rail.

  • 1994 July 8, 2020 (11:50 pm)

    Metro had limitations and could not provide all of the anticipated increase in bus service because they had no place to store additional buses, for a while there was a driver shortage….. Some of the TBD funds were then used to pay for Orca passes for high school students….the levy money was not used for what tax payers were told it would be used for.  I will vote NO.

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