Seattle Councilmember Saka unveils fine-tuned transportation proposal that improves services, limits tax burden

Seattle Bike Lane

SEATTLE – Seattle City Councilmember Rob Saka (District 1, Chair of the Select Committee on the 2024 Transportation Levy) is releasing an updated transportation levy proposal today that fine-tunes the levy’s focus on safety, economy, and climate, while limiting the burden on taxpayers.

“My goal from day one has been to bring our community together behind a proposal that gets Seattle back to doing the everyday basics in an extraordinary way. That means making critical investments in things like filling potholes, making our bridges safer, and increasing safety on our roads, sidewalks, and transit system. The fine-tuned levy I’m proposing today accomplishes those goals, while being intentional to limit the burden on taxpayers,” said Chair Saka

No cost increases compared to prior proposal

Chair Saka released his initial proposal for the transportation levy renewal on May 31. Since then, he has worked closely with his council colleagues, constituents, and other stakeholders to get feedback, create consensus, and fine-tune the levy proposal.

Through compromise and collaboration, that process has resulted in a stronger levy proposal without raising the cost compared to the initial proposal. Today’s proposal would cost exactly the same as his initial proposal, $1.55 billion over eight years.

How will the funding be spent?

Investing in our safety, economy, and climate

Councilmember Saka’s proposal, broadly speaking, would invest that funding in the following ways:

  • $160.5 million in Vision Zero and school and neighborhood safety
  • $423 million in street maintenance and modernization
  • $221 million in bridge infrastructure and safety
  • $151 million in improving transit corridors and connections
  • $193 million in pedestrian safety
  • $100 million to install and maintain traffic signals and improve mobility
  • $113.5 million for bicycle safety
  • $66.5 million to activate public spaces, neighborhoods, and business districts
  • $69 million to better address climate change, protect the environment, and increase our tree canopy
  • $45 million for economy-focused improvements to our freight transportation system
  • $7.5 million for good governance, oversight, and property tax relief education

Mitigating the tax impact on the most vulnerable

Chair Saka’s proposal would also include funding to help mitigate the effects of the transportation levy. The amendments would include a new $1.5 million fund for community outreach and education about property tax exemptions for qualified seniors, people with disabilities, and disabled veterans, for which more people are now eligible.

Increasing accountability, transparency, and good governance

Finally, the package would include increased accountability, transparency, and good governance requirements. Among other things, Chair Saka’s proposal would implement more detailed spending requirements, strengthen the levy’s oversight committee, and provide funding for auditing.

What’s next?

The Select Committee on the 2024 Transportation Levy will meet Tuesday July 2 at 9:30 AM to vote on Chair Saka’s proposal and other amendments.

If the committee approves, the 2024 Transportation Levy is scheduled to move to a final vote of the Council on July 9. If approved by the full Council, the levy package will face a final vote on this November’s ballot.