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Proposed Seattle transportation levy tacks on $100M more after public feedback

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(The Center Square) – Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell has announced an updated transportation levy proposal that adds an additional $100 million to fund transportation projects that Seattle residents have prioritized.

The now $1.45 billion levy proposal was adjusted following a period of public engagement on the draft proposal last month.

Seattle already has the nine-year, $930 million Levy to Move Seattle passed in 2015, but it is set to expire at the end of this year. It costs the owner of a median-priced Seattle property about $24 per month.

If Seattle voters approve the updated levy proposal, it would increase the monthly cost by $17 per month for a median assessed home costing $866,000.

Despite a tax rate at less than half of the average large city, the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy’s 2023 report on property taxes found Seattle homeowners paid a median $6,650 in tax year 2022. That’s higher than all but seven large cities the nonprofit studied, largely due to outsized property values.

The original proposal from last month would have cost a median Seattle home roughly $36 per month from the expiring Levy to Move Seattle. The updated levy would cost $41 per month if approved.

“The revised proposal would give [the Seattle Department of Transportation] 17% more purchasing power to maintain [and] modernize our streets than the current Levy to Move Seattle,” Seattle Department of Transportation Director Greg Spotts said in a statement.

The proposed levy, if approved, would see the largest portion of funding – $423 million over the lifecycle of the levy – go toward repaving and other improvements of Seattle streets. That would include paving 38% of the busiest blocks where streets are in poor condition.

Other areas that the generated funding would go to improved pedestrian and bicyclist connectivity to light rail stations, transit access and reliability, and bridge maintenance and replacement planning.

“With a focus on the essential needs of our city and its residents, this levy proposal will deliver projects and improvements to keep people moving and to keep people safe,” Harrell said.

The proposed levy will need to make its way through the Seattle City Council before landing on the ballot for the city’s voters this fall.

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