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Seattle city councilmembers propose combatting transportation levies

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(The Center Square) – Seattle City Councilmember Tammy Morales is proposing her own transportation levy that would increase the total levy size to $1.7 billion over eight years.

Morales’ new proposal counters Select Committee on the 2024 Transportation Levy Chair Rob Saka’s $1.55 billion levy proposal that is also up for a vote next week.

Morales’ proposed levy would cost a homeowner of a median value Seattle home ($885,000) approximately $594. That is an increase of $48 compared to Saka’s proposal. The expiring Move Seattle Levy median property tax bill in 2024 is $300.

Morales said her proposal is a result of constituents calling for a prioritization of traffic safety.

Fatalities on Seattle streets peaked in 2021 with 31 deaths but since then has seen a modest drop to 27 deaths in 2023.

In 2023 there were approximately 250 serious traffic injuries. The previous record for the most number of serious injuries was 241 in 2006.

Six people were killed on Seattle roads in just a one-week span last month, according to Morales.

“We are in the middle of a local and national road safety crisis: we cannot afford to wait to be bold in our vision of what Seattle streets could look like,” Morales said in a statement. “Lives are quite literally depending on it.”

The city councilmember’s proposal would spend $90 million more in levy funds toward creating safer streets, bike lanes, and sidewalks than the alternative levy in committee. This includes $20 million to extend the Burke Gilman Trail and $20 million for more protected bike lanes.

Morales’ proposal would also dedicate $30 million more for arterial roadway maintenance, $15.5 million more for neighborhood-initiated safety projects, and $14.5 million more for the creation of new sidewalks and safe pathways.

Her proposed transportation levy would dedicate $15 million more to planting and maintaining trees across Seattle than the $29 million in Saka’s levy proposal.

The two transportation levy proposals are set to be voted on during the Select Committee on the 2024 Transportation Levy on July 2.

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