Transportation Levy Vote: Seattle Approves $1.55 Billion Property Tax Increase, Biggest in City History

Seattle, Washington – The Seattle City Council has made a significant decision by approving a proposal for a substantial property tax increase. The $1.55 billion, 8-year transportation levy is set to replace the previous Move Seattle levy, aiming to address crucial infrastructure needs such as sidewalk improvements, road repaving, and bridge maintenance, which have surpassed the current budget’s capabilities.

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell’s initial proposal for a $1.35 billion plan was altered following public feedback, resulting in the final amount approved by the City Council. Transportation Committee Chair Rob Saka played a pivotal role in expanding the proposal to meet the city’s transportation infrastructure demands.

The unanimous passing of the legislation by Saka’s committee last week set the stage for the final approval by the City Council, with Mayor Harrell scheduled to sign the bill for the levy to be included on the upcoming November ballot. While proponents believe that the public is ready to invest in necessary transportation enhancements, critics argue that the tax increase will worsen affordability in Seattle and lead to higher rental costs.

In a last-minute move, $20 million from the levy will be allocated to complete the Burke Gilman trail. The approved proposal outlines a detailed allocation plan for the $1.55 billion transportation levy, focusing on diverse areas such as street maintenance, bridge infrastructure, pedestrian safety, transit improvements, and climate change initiatives.

Former City Councilmember Alex Pedersen voiced criticism, likening the tax increase to the Titanic disaster, emphasizing its potential negative impact on low-income individuals and the city’s overall effectiveness in addressing transportation needs. Despite differing opinions, the levy is set to move forward for consideration by Seattle voters in the fall.