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Council News Release


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:   
8/16/2011  1:43:00 PM
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Dana Robinson Slote, (206) 615-0061

Council President Richard Conlin
Councilmember Sally Bagshaw
Councilmember Tim Burgess
Councilmember Sally J. Clark
Councilmember Jean Godden
Councilmember Bruce Harrell
Councilmember Nick Licata
Councilmember Mike O'Brien
Councilmember Tom Rasmussen


Seattle Transportation Benefit District Governing Board approves
$60 vehicle license fee for placement on November ballot

Fee to go toward street maintenance, transit improvements


Seattle Today Seattle City Councilmembers acting in their capacity as the Seattle Transportation Benefit District (STBD) Governing Board approved a $60 vehicle licensing fee (VLF) to go to the November 8, 2011 ballot.

"The public is asking for faster, more reliable transit service. This means fixing potholes and improving overall street maintenance," said Councilmember and Transportation Committee chair, Tom Rasmussen. "We believe this is a responsible package that reflects the needs of our street system while improving mobility for all."

This proposal includes the following:

  • Transit: Speed and reliability improvements to eight major corridors; projects that provide better access from neighborhoods to light rail and frequent bus service corridors; and improved safety for transit riders.
  • Pavement preservation: Allows the city to capitalize on Bridging the Gap (BTG) investments to accomplish 26 major pavement preservation projects each year (24 BTG + two Citizens Transportation Advisory Committee (CTAC)) and 38 major spot repairs (25 BTG + 15 CTAC).
  • Pedestrian and bike mobility: Additional sidewalk, crosswalk , pedestrian signals and projects that improve safety and mobility for disabled residents; along with improved bike options for kids and more casual bicyclists who avoid riding today because of concerns about safety.
  • High-Capacity Transit investments: Preserves $20 (plus possibility of bonding authority) for High-Capacity Transit investments, once city has demonstrated need, completed planning and is eligible for matching dollars from federal or private funds.

"We understand this is a tough economic time and a lot to ask of the voters," stated Councilmember Sally J. Clark. "This $60 VLF package is a compromise that allows the City to make major improvements to our transit system while also providing safer roads for drivers and bicyclists, as well as safer crossing and walkways for pedestrians."

The STBD board also determined a timeframe that provides ample time to plan and construct major projects, but also ensures accountability by encouraging the Seattle Department of Transportation to complete projects on time and under budget before seeking renewal of taxes.

"Our responsibility is to fix what we have and finish what we started," stated Councilmember Tim Burgess. "As the STBD board, we asked for and received a strong recommendation from CTAC and we worked from there to send a proposal to the people that appropriately prioritizes the maintenance and transportation needs of our City."

"We recognize that times are tough and people are feeling pinched, that's why I'm glad the Council agreed on a lowering the proposed fee to $60. Now it's up to the voters to decide," said Councilmember Jean Godden.

"Eighty-five percent of households in Seattle own at least one vehicle and we will ask them this fall if they are willing to support a balanced package that addresses the backlog in pothole repairs, building and improving sidewalks to enhance pedestrian safety, and improving transit corridors to increase ridership and travel times," said Councilmember Bruce Harrell.  "We have to earn the people's trust and ensure the public that these transportation improvement projects go through the race and social justice lens to ensure that all communities are served."

The STBD Governing Board arrived at the decision point for a November ballot measure after a lengthy process that began when the City Council passed Resolution 31240 and created CTAC III in September of 2010. CTAC convened 13 meetings over six months, with several roundtable discussions, community meetings and public workshops, and more than 2,000 responses to an online survey. The STBD board also held five meetings, a well attended public hearing, with active engagement by all nine members of the board.

Please find a breakout of the proposal here.

For more information and meeting agendas, visit Seattle Transportation Benefit District web site. This Seattle Transportation Benefit District press conference can be found on the Seattle Channel at www.seattle.gov/councillive.

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