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CM Morales’ transportation levy amendment would fund Council priorities without pitting them against each other

Screenshot of the action alert from Seattle Neighborhood Greenways with photos of three people holding supportive signs and a form to fill out.
Send letters of support via the easy and quick SNG action alert.

The City Council’s latest deliberations over the Seattle Transportation Levy saw many members trying to find cuts in the proposal in order to fund work they want to see added, whether it’s additional sidewalk construction in their districts or a Burke-Gilman Trail alternative via Leary and Market. But why make cuts to other important work when the Council can just increase the levy size to fund all these additions?

That’s the idea behind Councilmember Tammy Morales’ newest amendment, which the Council will discuss Tuesday. By increasing the levy to $1.7 billion over eight years, the Council could fund additions while still remaining within the range that polling suggests voters will approve, according to Seattle Neighborhood Greenways.

“Thanks to your advocacy, the draft Transportation Levy has significantly improved since we first saw it in April,” Greenways wrote in an email to supporters this week. “But Council is still trying to pit vital priorities against each other. We shouldn’t have to choose between building or repairing sidewalks, or between public open space and protected bike lanes. We need all of these things, and polling shows that voters will pass a levy that funds them.”


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The poll by the Northwest Progressive Institute found strong support for an even larger $1.9 billion levy, suggesting the Council can safely grow the levy without risking voter backlash. Given the extended closure of the West Seattle Bridge and the terrifying spike in traffic deaths, especially of people walking, voters know Seattle needs to increase its funding for improving our streets. And Seattle is a city where the number of people willing to help our city go big outnumber those who vote against all tax increases. The expiring Move Seattle Levy passed with a 17 point margin even in a lower-turnout, odd-year ballot without high-profile federal elections. This is the first year that a Seattle transportation levy will be on the same ballot as the U.S. President, and the conventional wisdom suggests that a higher turnout should yield better results for an ambitious levy like this one.

Morales announced the amendment during a press conference alongside Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, Disability Rights Washington and the MLK County Labor Council, the Urbanist reported. The Urbanist also included a breakdown of what the extra $150 million would fund, including $20 million for protected bike lanes in south Seattle and $20 million for the Leary/Market Burke-Gilman Trail connection.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is calling on supporters to send Councilmembers letters of support using their handy online form and to sign up to give supportive testimony. More details from SNG:

Councilmember Morales responded to community advocacy and proposed an amendment that will increase the size of the transportation levy to $1.7B by making council amendments additive instead of pitting vital priorities against each other. CLICK HERE to push Council to vote YES for a $1.7B levy that builds sidewalks and safety projects by Tues, July 2!

LAST CHANCE TO MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD!

  1. SEND AN EMAIL: Send the City Council a written public comment at [email protected], or use this easy form.
  2. CALL YOUR COUNCILMEMBERS: Call your city councilmembers instead and leave a voicemail. Nelson (citywide) 206-684-8809, Woo (citywide) 206-684-8808, Saka (D1) 206-684-8801, Morales (D2) 206-684-8802, Hollingsworth (D3) 206-684-8803, Rivera (D4) 206-684-8804, Moore (D5) 206-684-8805, Strauss (D6) 206-684-8806, Kettle (D7) 206-684-8807. 
  3. SHOW UP: Speak directly to Council at City Hall Tuesday, July 2, at 9:30 am. You can also sign up to speak virtually. See How-To and talking points here.

(Note to readers: I am on vacation until July 6, so posts may be slower than usual.)


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