VIDEO: Mayor signs transportation levy; Seattle voters will decide what happens next

One day after the City Council finalized it, the transportation-levy renewal/expansion got Mayor Bruce Harrell‘s signature in a City Hall ceremony this morning. With speeches from the mayor, District 1 City Councilmember Rob Saka, business and labor leaders, and others, the levy started its road to the November ballot. It does not have a catchy name (yet), unlike its predecessor Levy to Move Seattle – expiring at the end of this year after its nine-year run – or the one before that, Bridging the Gap, which covered 2006-2015.

You’ve likely already heard that the levy would raise $1.55 billion over eight years. The mayor noted that’s “$21 per month more than the current levy” if you have a median-value house (he didn’t cite a number but it’s supposedly in the $800,000 vicinity). The total is said to represent almost a third of the budget for SDOT, whose director Greg Spotts spoke today too. He declared the levy “balanced and practical … data-driven, community-informed.” Much was made in other speeches of consensus and collaboration; Saka was lauded for leading the full-council committee that reviewed and amended the original slightly-less-costly proposal originally sent by Harrell. Saka declared the levy “a victory for the people of Seattle” and concluded his speech with this quote from President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The website for the levy promises updated documents are in the works, so we don’t have the exact text yet (but here’s the council’s most recent spending-breakdown document). And much of what it will fund will not initially be spelled out location by location, but as we’ve noted in coverage over the past few months, there are several planned West Seattle projects specifically identified – repaving and other changes for 35th SW between Alaska and Morgan, pavement repairs to Fauntleroy Way SW between 35th and Alaska to get it through the years of nearby light-rail construction, safety improvements at the east end of the Roxbury corridor, a sidewalk along part of SW Brandon in North Delridge. Saka also spoke of one of his late additions, a future West Seattle protected-bike-lane project to be named for Steve Hulsman, the rider killed on Marine View Drive last year, whose widow Rita Hulsman was in attendance at the ceremony. The levy projects listed by name in the “spending breakdown” also mention a protected bike lane for Highland Park Way SW, ostensibly a reference to the proposal to replace a downhill driving lane with either a PBL or a multi-use path.

You can read the city’s overview of the levy here. General-election voting will end November 5.

57 Replies to "VIDEO: Mayor signs transportation levy; Seattle voters will decide what happens next"

  • Jeepney July 10, 2024 (12:11 pm)

    Another reason housing costs are so high in our city.

    • bill July 10, 2024 (5:03 pm)

      If only we didn’t have roads, no one would live here, and it would be a paradise.

      • Jim July 10, 2024 (5:25 pm)

        Ya cause we totally don’t have a TON of money already allocated for roads

  • DRW July 10, 2024 (12:18 pm)

    Vote No.

    • Seattlite July 10, 2024 (3:38 pm)

      You bet I will vote NO!  This city has no checks and balances or transparency when it comes to mega-funded projects.  

      • AD July 10, 2024 (4:01 pm)

        And the police.

        • AJ July 10, 2024 (6:55 pm)

          I’d like to see it all go to more police…and one way prisons.

          • Bbron July 10, 2024 (9:14 pm)

            “one way prisons” new euphemism for the desire to have the state murder people just dropped

  • Nonono July 10, 2024 (12:24 pm)

    Nonono for meNo oversight And always nothing to show forMassive payouts to departments doing nothing ,more reviews More studies….as usual 

  • MikeinSea July 10, 2024 (12:31 pm)

    Look at those smiles.  They love collecting more of your money.

    • anonyme July 10, 2024 (4:07 pm)

      Mike, I thought the same thing.  All these people who are supposed to represent us grinning like idiots at how they’re going to stick it to – us.  It’s not amusing.  And while I’m grateful for the links to quarterly reports, they are extremely difficult to decipher.  The anecdotal evidence and the evidence of our own eyeballs and our own experiences are not as easily dismissable as many would like.  Vision Zero does not deserve another penny.  It comes down to trust, something that SDOT has again and again proven itself unworthy of.  NO.

  • Cash Grab July 10, 2024 (12:43 pm)

    VOTE NO!!!!!

  • No one left to move July 10, 2024 (1:22 pm)

    Maybe we should be focusing on, safety, crime, schools and road “maintenance” with a smaller, less number of years levy, and pause “move Seattle” for now?

  • Al King July 10, 2024 (1:30 pm)

    My vote is NO. If I could trust the politicians to wisely spend the money on what they say the money is for I would vote yes. There are too many examples over the years of promised projects not happening because the money went to something we never voted on or the euphamistic “we ran out of money”. Note to politicians and city leaders: Earn our trust with verifiable results of promised projects being completed on time and on budget as promised.

  • lucy July 10, 2024 (1:37 pm)

    No.  I would like to see a spreadsheet detailing transportation expenditures to date from the previous levy.  No more money until they can prove to me they are being responsible for the hundreds of millions they have already been allotted.  

    • WSB July 10, 2024 (3:01 pm)

      Quarterly reports are linked here. At least in the most recent one, the dollar figures are in the later pages

      • lucy July 10, 2024 (3:47 pm)

        That’s not a spreadsheet.  I want itemized line by line what they spent money on.   Describe the project, how much was budgeted, how much was spent and HOW IT WAS SPENT.  Materials, labor, meetings, overtime, consultants, etc.  

        • WS Res July 10, 2024 (5:32 pm)

          Why don’t you go find those things yourself? If it’s of so much concern to you, how much research have you done to get this information you want? It’s all public info; you can search public records, make public information requests, go to public meetings where budgeting is discussed, etc.  How much work have you put into this?  Or are you just demanding information as a way of implying that if you don’t know about it, it must not exist?

          • Lucy July 10, 2024 (9:11 pm)

            Because THEY are asking ME for MY  money.  I have the right to know how it’s being spent before giving it to them.  If they cannot provide that information, I will refuse to give them MY money.  

  • AK July 10, 2024 (1:59 pm)

    Vote NO!!!!! NO!! just NO!!!

  • Fred July 10, 2024 (2:07 pm)

    I will also vote NO for all of the reasons above. Despite NO votes, these things always seem to pass. I agree with Al. Note to politicians and city leaders: Earn our trust with verifiable results of promised projects being completed on time and on budget as promised.  Transportation is the least of our worries right now. Crime is number one. 

    • Peter July 10, 2024 (4:26 pm)

      “Despite NO votes, these things always seem to pass.” Yes, that’s because YES votes also count, and most of us, those of us who care about the city and maintaining infrastructure, those who understand the consequences of our chronic under-funding of infrastructure, will vote YES to fund infrastructure. 

    • bill July 10, 2024 (5:05 pm)

      That’s an interesting idea for suppressing crime: Let the roads decay until the criminals can’t get away!

      • WS Res July 10, 2024 (5:33 pm)

        Ah, but neither will the police be able to get to the crime scenes! 

  • Voting No July 10, 2024 (2:30 pm)

    This is a referendum on SDOT and Vision Zero. Neither deserve your support. 

  • Seattlite July 10, 2024 (2:34 pm)

    What a great way to continue to push out the middle class and make Seattle more and more unaffordable!

  • BS July 10, 2024 (2:41 pm)

    WSDOT IS THE WORST. I have lived in Austin, Boston, and Philly and Seattle has the worst roads in the country. Where does the money go to fix the roads??? Is there a place where I can find this information. I want to follow the money trail and see where all this money is going. I understand we don’t pay state tax but we don’t have problem helping all the millionaires and billionaires in this city. BS

  • Barley July 10, 2024 (2:56 pm)

    As an ex Ckty of Seattle employee vote no!! They waste this maintenance levy just like the preceding two. With consulting  fees and environmental  impact!!!

  • Lola July 10, 2024 (2:57 pm)

    70 % property increase?  Really why would I want to do this?  My bill changes every few months as it is with all of the other taxes you have hit me with.  It is a BIG FAT NOOOOOOOOO FROM ME!!!!!!!

  • Alki resident July 10, 2024 (2:58 pm)

    So smiley everyone is when wanting our money. Big fat NO on this. We’re already being taxed to death to fix our roads. Where’s that money because roads are sure not getting fixed? 

  • Marcus July 10, 2024 (3:33 pm)

    I am voting NO. New city counsel was voted in to address crime, homelessness and business/downtown health. This levy is not the primary issue facing Seattle. The city leaders were charged to fix the problems of the last political philosophy, not to come up with a new huge tax for a secondary issue. Fix the problems of the past and then I will consider.

    • AD July 10, 2024 (4:02 pm)

      Good luck with that, considering the mayor is part of the “last political philosophy” city council and your D1 rep ran on a platform of supporting whatever the mayor wants.

  • No, no, y no July 10, 2024 (3:42 pm)

    N  O

  • Josh July 10, 2024 (4:32 pm)

    NO. Their smiles are almost insulting. Look at what they did to Delridge. Please just do the basics like pothole repair and make living here less difficult. I’m feeling like we are barely hanging on. 

  • Peter July 10, 2024 (4:45 pm)

    Wow. The Republicans got their email out directing their agitators to flood the comments really fast. Thats impressive coordination. 

    • WW Resident July 10, 2024 (5:21 pm)

      What a stupid ad hominem attempt comment. Just because people are tired of blindly opening  their wallets to give the government more and more money with basically no oversight to how they’re spending it, doesn’t make people “Republicans”. An obvious attempt at slighting people in this region. 

    • Seattlite July 10, 2024 (5:24 pm)

      It has nothing to do with left or right but everything to do with common sense in wanting transparency in Seattle’s spending.

    • Al King July 10, 2024 (5:30 pm)

      Peter. As a democrat my response to your comment is that it reinforces the need to vote no.

      • Peter July 10, 2024 (10:07 pm)

        The comments on this blog are also full of Republicans claiming to be Democrats in a lame attempt to create the illusion that Democrats are supporting clearly Republican ideals. Literally nobody is dumb enough to believe that lie, AK. 

  • drahcir61 July 10, 2024 (4:45 pm)

    Anyone want to bet this won’t be the last levy this year or next?  How about a NEW levy to fight crime?  Maybe a NEW & BIGGER levy to solve homelessness? 

    Hey, I could live with continuing the existing transportation levy which is about to expire. But this increase to $1.55B is absurd, when does it end? 

    I don’t want to hear the justification that my property taxes will only go up $21 per month (mine will be much higher than that) … it’s still going up. 

    As soon as they get into office they start drinking from the fountain of levies and get drunk … open bar, watch the money flow in … and we are all left with the hangover!

  • Bbron July 10, 2024 (5:04 pm)

    from folks’ comments here, it would seem that some of y’all’s only interaction with policy is when you see a dollar amount on your year’s end tax bill. leads to these wildly ill-informed comment sections. if you have so much to say about the lack of transparency, by all means go off, but y’all come off like they don’t give you anything at all right now. read the reports they regularly put out, and then you can have some actual substance in your criticisms.

  • Alki Parent July 10, 2024 (6:51 pm)

    West Seattle – where the NIMBYs NIMBY so hard they don’t even want bridges maintained.Have you all forgotten about what just happened to the West Seattle Bridge? Defunding infrastructure is a truly outrageous idea. 

  • Screech July 10, 2024 (10:03 pm)

    Lots of naysayers here who seem to have forgotten the maintenance backlog around here (the bridges alone should make you vote yes) and yes maintenance is expensive.  It’s a problem. Voting no will make that problem much worse. This isn’t for some kind of fluffy little projects, it’s major paving, bridges, sidewalk repair, safety upgrades.  Hard yes from me. 

  • Rocky Bullwinkle July 10, 2024 (10:08 pm)

    Too too many levies. It’s really putting a burden on families whose household incomes cannot keep up with these taxes plus the high costs of living that keep increasing. The city needs to make do with the tax money it already receives and reallocate and spend it appropriately and accordingly every year.

  • Gaslit July 10, 2024 (10:20 pm)

    I’ll never understand why people in this city don’t ask government to make significant spending cuts in wasteful areas before turning to people for taxes. That’s actual representative democracy. As a starting point, all members of city council, the mayor and all senior staff immediately beging their positions as volunteers. 

    • k July 11, 2024 (3:16 pm)

      We do, but no one is willing to cut funding for the police, no matter how wasteful they may be.  So we have rolling library closures and schools closures, and a bigger tax bill for everything else.

  • anonyme July 11, 2024 (7:11 am)

    Nobody is downplaying the importance of maintenance.  If anything, those skeptical of the price tag on this levy are concerned about the millions being demanded for fluff and nonsense like Zero Vision and other amorphous schemes, while our infrastructure continues to decay.  Every levy promises to address the maintenance issue and it has yet to happen.  Pothole patrol is not an adequate maintenance strategy.  SDOT needs to get back to the drawing board and put some accountability into their plan, instead of weaving in all of their fantasies at our expense.

  • Dr Wu July 12, 2024 (10:15 am)

    Vote No ! 

  • Arbor Heights Resident July 12, 2024 (11:47 am)

    To all the no voters- I hope you enjoy crumbling infrastructure, because that’s what you’ll get without transportation funding. $21 per month is a lot cheaper than busting your car on a pothole or sitting in traffic for hours on end.

    • Al King July 12, 2024 (12:54 pm)

      AHR. Educate me with the guarantees from the city and SDOT that the money WILL be spent on infrastructure and maintenance. What’s preventing them from moving the money for “other things”

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