Seattle transit advocates breathed a sigh of relief Monday as the City Council approved a final plan for renewing a chunk of the city’s sales tax dedicated to funding for public transportation.
The Seattle Transportation Benefit District proposal will remain a six-year package and will be boosted to 0.15% as it now heads to the ballot for a decision by Seattle voters in November.
Mayor Jenny Durkan’s proposal started with a straight renewal of the existing .10% tax that would have raised between $20 and $30 million annually over the next six years “to fund essential transit service, capital projects, and transit access programs like ORCA Opportunity.”
Seattle's #STBD will be a .15% sales tax for 6 yrs. It funds:
🚌 – Tens of thousands of service hrs
⛴️ – Service to support the W. Seattle transpo crisis
🎟️ – millions of $ in student & low-income access
🚦 – Transit spot improvements
Transportation is power. Let's win in Nov!
— Transportation Choices Coalition (@TranspoChoices) July 27, 2020
The boosted package approved by the council Monday — if it is approved by voters in November — will raise about 50% more, advocates say. During Monday’s maneuverings, the council debated dropping the number of years the package would cover as it also dickered over the tax percentage.
CHS reported here on Durkan’s proposal and the discussions around the package that is used to fund service for the city’s most important routes from services operated by King County and Sound Transit. The proposal also includes increased spending over the first four years on increased transit service to West Seattle as the city sorts out how best to deal with the failing West Seattle Bridge.
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