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City of Seattle
Seattle City Council
NEWS ADVISORY

SUBJECT: Citizen Advisory Committee Says More Money Needed for Local Transportation Infrastructure

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
5/25/2004  1:20:00 PM
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CITIZEN ADVISORY COMMITTEE SAYS MORE MONEY NEEDED FOR LOCAL TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE
Focus on regional projects has overshadowed needs for Seattle streets and bridges

SEATTLE — Seattle’s local transportation system is overburdened and under funded and the City needs new tools to help address this disparity, according to a report issued today by a Citizens Transportation Advisory Committee II. The report finds that 16 percent of Seattle’s major streets are in poor condition or worse and 37 percent of the City’s bridges are in poor condition or worse. And, the longer maintenance on infrastructure is delayed, the greater the financial burden of fixing them.

CTAC II, a group of 12 business and civic leaders jointly appointed by the Mayor and City Council, has assessed the City’s local transportation needs and funding problems, and solicited key solutions for the last six months.

“It’s clear that Seattle has two big problems – our infrastructure is in serious need of repair and the city needs additional funding to make the repairs,” said committee chair Darryl Smith, a Columbia City realtor. “The recommendations in the CTAC report will work to address these concerns.”

“This report is a wakeup call that the Legislature needs to take,” said Mayor Greg Nickels. “Clearly there are huge needs and few choices to address transportation funding shortages. We need the State Legislature to provide us with new funding options.”

“CTAC II has sounded the alarm. We must respond to their recommendations and leave no stone unturned to find new local resources,” said Councilmember Richard Conlin, chair of the Transportation Committee, which received the report today. “But, this will not be enough. Cities across the state are in dire straights and need new ways to fund our streets and bridges. We must work with the Legislature to find the tools to meet crucial local transportation infrastructure needs.”

Among the committee’s findings:
· The backlog of deferred maintenance for Seattle streets, arterials, bridges and sidewalks is currently about $500 million. Maintenance costs alone to reduce the backlog would require about $40-$50 million in additional funding each year over the next 20 years.
· Seattle Department of Transportation should be replacing one bridge every year, but current funding allows replacement of one bridge every 3 or 4 years.
· SDOT would need to triple the annual amount of paving and reconstruction in order to reverse the net deterioration of streets.
· Since 1990, the City has actually lost transportation revenue sources, while the need for transportation infrastructure maintenance and improvement is growing.
· As the condition of the transportation infrastructure deteriorates, it becomes significantly more expensive to repair or replace – effectively doubling every 10 to 15 years.

The committee put forth a menu of funding options for the City to consider, including possible ballot measures and options the City would need state approval to implement. The report will be the subject of further discussions in the Council’s Transportation Committee, with input from the Mayor’s Office.

Nickels and Conlin thanked the committee for their hard work and service to the City in assessing Seattle’s transportation infrastructure needs and recommending appropriate sources of funding to address those needs.

In 1996 the Council created a first Citizen’s Transportation Advisory Committee that recommended new approaches to operating, maintaining and improving Seattle’s transportation system, with a focus on funding the backlog of repairs. The Council sent a transportation bond proposal to voters in 1997 that garnered 57 percent support, but it needed 60 percent to pass.

Members of the Citizens Transportation Advisory Committee II are:
· Linda Amato, transportation planner with The Resource Group Consultants, Inc.;
· Stella Chao, executive director of the International District Housing Alliance and member of the Minority Executive Directors Coalition;
· Peter Coates, secretary-treasurer of the Seattle-King County Building and Construction Trades Council;
· Barbara Culp, executive director of the Bicycle Alliance;
· Matthew Kitchen, transportation planner with the Puget Sound Regional Council
· Doug Lorentzen, Friends of Queen Anne representative and a member of the previous Citizens Transportation Advisory Committee;
· Mike McGinn, Sierra Club attorney and president of the Greenwood Community Council;
· John Odland, member of the Seattle Freight Mobility Advisory Commission and the Manufacturing and Industrial Council;
· Darryl Smith, southeast Seattle realtor, Columbia City activist and founder of Columbia City BeatWalk;
· Don Stark, Seattle Chamber of Commerce and partner in Gogerty Stark Marriott;
· Lucy Steers, Municipal League board member and past president of the League of Women Voters; and
· Eugene Wasserman, Neighborhood Business Council, president of the North Seattle Industrial Association and a member of the previous Citizens Transportation Advisory Committee.

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Citizens Transportation Advisory Committee II Fact Sheet


May 25, 2004

The CTAC II recommendations are based on a review of the following facts.

Condition of Infrastructure
· The backlog of deferred maintenance for Seattle streets, arterials, bridges and sidewalks is currently about $500 million. To provide for current maintenance and to reduce the backlog would require about $40-$50 million in additional funding each year over the next 20 years. The total amounts identified for neighborhood mobility needs are of similar magnitude.
· Today, 16 percent of arterial streets are in poor condition or worse. Although the condition of local streets is not compiled, it is probably at least as bad.
· Of the 138 bridges in the City, 37 percent are in poor condition or worse – most of these are more than 60 years old.
· SDOT should be replacing one bridge every year, but the current funding allows replacement of one bridge every 3 or 4 years.
· Currently 16 bridges have weight restrictions due to critical deficiencies. Many traffic signs and control systems need replacement or upgrading.

Funding
· Since 1990, the City has actually lost transportation revenue sources.
· In 1995, the Supreme Court ruled the Street Utility Fee as unconstitutional.
· In 2002, voter approval of Initiative 776 eliminated the Vehicle License Fee from City revenues.
· Fuel tax revenues have declined more than 35 percent since 1996 in real purchasing power.
· The City’s options for transportation revenues are limited at this time, while the need for transportation infrastructure maintenance and improvement is growing.
· SDOT would need to triple the annual amount of paving and reconstruction in order to reverse the net deterioration of streets. · The cost of inaction would be high. As the condition of the transportation infrastructure deteriorates, it becomes significantly more expensive to repair or replace – effectively doubling every 10 to 15 years.

Citizens Transportation Advisory Committee II
· The Mayor and City Council adopted Resolution 30604, forming the Citizens’ Transportation Advisory Committee (CTAC-II).
· The charge to the 12-member committee was to evaluate and make recommendations for new sources to fund major transportation maintenance and neighborhood transportation needs.

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