Opposing sides of Proposition 1 give their views on why the measure should or should not pass in November.
Jump to each guest column:
Pro — Mayor Ed Murray and Maud Daudon: Invest in safer, better streets and efficient transit
Con — Eugene Wasserman and Faye Garneau: ‘Move Seattle’ is just a wish-list without commitments
By Ed Murray and Maud Daudon
Special to The Times
A sustainable city is economically diverse and socially inclusive. It has healthy, vibrant neighborhoods where families can build good lives today and the same promise holds true for their children and grandchildren tomorrow. Businesses can attract talented employees and move goods efficiently. Key to creating this livable, sustainable city is investing in infrastructure that provides safe, predictable and interconnected transportation options for all.
Seattle is growing rapidly. We’ve added 70,000 people and 63,000 jobs over the last five years alone. This growth requires us to invest today to create the sustainable city we want. Whether people move by transit, car, bike, truck or foot, we must do more to meet the demands of today and tomorrow. The nine-year Let’s Move Seattle transportation levy replaces and expands the expiring Bridging the Gap levy to meet this challenge. The new levy deserves our support.
Let’s Move Seattle would create a safer, better-maintained and a more efficient transportation system. The levy focuses on three high-priority areas for specific transportation improvements: congestion relief, safety and maintenance.
In our growing city, the need to improve transit and relieve congestion has never been greater. Let’s Move Seattle builds seven additional bus rapid-transit corridors to connect our neighborhoods with fast, reliable transit, including Ballard, Delridge, Capitol Hill, Madison Valley, Eastlake, Roosevelt, Rainier Valley, Central District, Wallingford, Fremont, U-District and Northgate. It also optimizes traffic signals on 45 heavily traveled corridors.
Creating safe, healthy streets is a core value. Let’s Move Seattle makes investments to improve safety across the city. The levy funds safety projects in high-crash areas, 150 blocks of new sidewalks, safety improvements at 750 intersections, 60 miles of neighborhood greenways on residential streets and physically separate people driving and biking on 50 miles of arterials.
We need to take care of what we already have. The levy prioritizes bridge maintenance by seismically reinforcing 16 vulnerable bridges and eliminating the backlog of citywide bridge repairs. The levy also focuses on basic maintenance, repaving up to 180 miles of arterials, repairing 225 blocks of sidewalks and completing dozens of neighborhood projects each year.
The levy also addresses social inequity. In fact, Puget Sound Sage and OneAmerica Votes call it the most equitable transportation investment in recent history. With projects in the Rainier Valley, such as the new Graham Street light-rail station and prioritization of Safe Routes to School improvements at schools in our lowest income neighborhoods, this levy makes investments based on need.
Because Let’s Move Seattle replaces an expiring levy, it would cost the typical homeowner only about $12 more per month. It includes strong transparency and accountability measures, and includes a citizen oversight committee that would hold the city accountable for delivering projects on time and on budget.
The levy has broad support from respected organizations like Transportation Choices Coalition, OneAmerica Votes, Seattle Building & Construction Trades Council, the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, every district Democratic group in Seattle, and many more.
Please vote “yes” on Proposition 1.
Ed Murray is mayor of Seattle. Maud Daudon is President and CEO of the Metropolitan Seattle Chamber of Commerce.
By Eugene Wasserman and Faye Garneau
Special to The Times
On Nov. 3, Seattle voters have another chance to plot a better course for the city we love.
Two years ago, Seattle voters approved district elections, meaning seven City Council members will be representing neighborhoods, not “at-large” (think downtown) interests. This refreshing change at City Hall is the very reason Seattle voters should vote no on Proposition 1, named Let’s Move Seattle.
A “no” vote sends a strong signal of concern about the ability to live and do business in what is fast becoming a very expensive city. For that, we deserve better transportation planning and much better execution on transportation projects.
The cost of living in Seattle is skyrocketing due to increasing rents, utility costs and taxes. Each day, residents are forced to leave a city they can no longer afford. Most disturbing, theyinclude retirees with fixed incomes who are being priced out of a place they have called home all their lives.
Yet, should Proposition 1 pass, our 2016 city property tax would skyrocket.
And what would we get for this obscene property-tax increase? Unfortunately, more of the same: a transportation program that has failed to deliver on its projects, has no real plans to reduce traffic congestion and fails to deliver on its promises.
Consider the empty First Hill streetcar tracks. Where are the streetcars that were, by contract, supposed to be running more than a year ago? How about the Elliott Bay seawall replacement? Original budget: $300 million. It is now slated to cost $410 million, a 36 percent increase, and is years behind schedule.
With this dismal track record, this administration’s transportation program does not deserve voter approval of the largest regressive tax levy in city history. Especially as it is supposedly a “replacement” for the Bridging the Gap transportation levy — but it is, in fact, a property-tax increase.
Of course, traffic congestion is an issue we cannot ignore. According to a Seattle Times review of the city’s 2035 land-use plan, even given the passage of Proposition 1, and the approximately $430 million each year the city Department of Transportation spends, traffic congestion will worsen by 2035.
That said, it is even more disturbing that Proposition 1 proponents are attempting to grab your vote with a list of projects that might never be funded. The Seattle City ordinance that put Proposition 1 on the ballot clearly states, “The spending breakdown is illustrative only and shall not be mandatory.”
Bottom line: On Nov. 3, you are essentially being asked to approve a $930-million, nine-year project wish-list.
Our approval of a district-elected City Council was a step in the right direction. Now Seattle voters should reject this levy and demand that our newly elected council go back to the drawing board to develop affordable transportation priorities that address real neighborhood needs with dedicated money that delivers sustainable congestion relief along with a substantial reduction to the maintenance backlog.
We can do this!
Vote “no” on Proposition 1. Keep Seattle affordable.
Eugene Wasserman is a member of the North Seattle Industrial Association. Faye Garneau is a businesswoman and sponsor of charter district elections.