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City of Seattle

August 16, 4:15 PM click here to comment > 3

Council refers transportation package to voters

Since I took office, I have focused on improving our transportation infrastructure to prepare Seattle to compete in the 21st century global economy. Other cities from San Diego to Vancouver have developed robust and efficient rail networks, connecting their neighborhoods and creating new jobs in the process. We also have significant street maintenance needs, as shown by the record number of potholes last winter.

A few short months ago, there was a slim possibility of going to the ballot with a proposal to take bold steps to address these problems. The Seattle Department of Transportation, two citizen advisory groups, the Council and I rolled up our sleeves to work together to fix our roads and build better transit.

The Transit Master Plan process was launched in 2010, and advised by a diverse set of residents, along with Seattle Department of Transportation staff and our consultant, Nelson\Nygaard. They drafted recommendations to improve the speed and reliability of transit on fifteen corridors in Seattle, including new investments in high capacity transit on five of those important corridors. In 2010, the City Council and I appointed the members of CTAC-III, who recommended an $80 vehicle license fee to fund projects identified in the Transit Master Plan, street maintenance, and bicycle and pedestrian projects.

I want to thank the community representatives who served on these committees and put in so much time developing these financing and transit recommendations.

The Council’s action today reflects the long process of building support for needed transportation investments. I thank the Council for accepting the Citizens Transportation Advisory Committee (CTAC-III) recommendation to invest in fixing our streets and in projects that will help more people walk, bike, and use transit in our city. I also thank the Council for investing to connect our streetcar network downtown and to extend the First Hill streetcar to the North Capitol Hill neighborhood. These projects will provide important benefits to residents, workers, and businesses.

It was my preference that the Council adopt the citizen recommendation for an $80 VLF that could not merely study but could provide future financing for transit construction, including rail. I understand the Council is not prepared to make that decision at this time, and look forward to working with them on finding financing for future rail.

I also would have preferred more flexibility to use vehicle license money to implement the Transit Master Plan, including the potential to connect more of our neighborhoods by rail. I will work with the Council to find the funding to order to realize the vision of the Transit Master Plan.

It is now up to Seattle voters to help us create new opportunities and meet the economic challenges of our time by repairing our streets and realizing our transit future.

Posted by: Mayor Mike McGinn


Pingback from HorsesAss.Org » Blog Archive » Open Thread
Time August 17, 2011 at 8:01 am

[…] – $60 isn’t going to get us as much as $80, but let’s pass this thing. […]

Comment from Juno
Time August 18, 2011 at 2:53 pm

I agree. This is long overdue.

Comment from John
Time August 22, 2011 at 2:15 pm

$80 for a trolley car? Metro’s electric buses already do the same thing, and we’re paying to maintain those hours now. We don’t need to pay $80 for no significant difference in mobility for people around here.

If the proposal was for an $80 car tab fee to be used towards installing a grade-separated rapid transit line, like the Skytrain in Vancouver, I’d be for it. But this is just a silly toy train ride that is expensive. No way. Especially if it’s being led by the king of bikes himself. He has no idea of what rapid transit is all about.