Find Posts By Topic

Mayor Harrell presents $1.45 billion Transportation Levy Proposal aligned around a long-term One Seattle vision for a safe, reliable, connected city

Responsive to community feedback, Mayor added more funding for sidewalks, transit connections, bridge repair, maintenance and modernization 

SEATTLE – Today, Mayor Bruce Harrell unveiled an 8-year, $1.45 billion levy proposal to fund transportation safety and maintenance in Seattle. This proposal is shaped by community input and follows a period of public engagement on the draft proposal introduced in April. It reflects the City of Seattle’s commitment to a One Seattle vision for a safe, reliable, and connected transportation system and to ongoing efforts to improve transportation infrastructure and services citywide. 

“Over the last month, we’ve received feedback from thousands of Seattle residents who want a transportation system that is safe, connected, and well maintained – this proposal will help get us there,” said Mayor Harrell. “With a focus on the essential needs of our city and its residents, this levy proposal will deliver projects and improvements to keep people moving and to keep people safe. No matter your preferred method of transportation, these investments are designed to make trips safer, more reliable, and better connected, so every Seattleite can get where they need to go.” 

Balancing essential needs and affordability, today’s proposal allocates an additional $100 million to fund top priorities raised by neighbors, in addition to the initial levy amount shared a month ago, including: 

  • Sidewalk construction and repairs 
  • Enhanced pedestrian and bicyclist connectivity to light rail stations 
  • Transit access and reliability 
  • Bridge maintenance and long-term replacement planning 
  • Maintenance and modernization of Seattle’s streets 

Key highlights of the updated proposal include the investments below, with key additions from the draft proposal in parentheses: 

  • $423 million to repave arterial streets that carry the most buses, trucks, and cars, and improve infrastructure for people walking, rolling, biking, and taking transit.  
  • $221 million to keep bridges in reliable working condition and prepare for future bridge projects. ($3 million added to the new Bridge Preventative Maintenance Program to expand bridge preservation focused on optimum treatment cycles.) 
  • $162 million to make targeted and community-requested Vision Zero safety improvements to streets, sidewalks, intersections, and crossings to reduce traffic collisions, severe injuries, and fatalities. (This includes a $41 million Neighborhood Initiated Safety Partnership Program and an additional $14 million District Project Fund to address emergent neighborhood concerns and requests.) 
  • $145 million to connect people safely to transit hubs, including Link light rail stations and bus stops, and reduce delays on bus routes. ($23 million added to improve transit reliability and safety.) 
  • $135 million to build and repair sidewalks, crossings, and curb ramps so people walking and rolling can safely get to where they need to go. ($26M added to improve walking and rolling, including a commitment to build 250 blocks of new sidewalks or alternative walkways in 4 years.) 
  • $114 million to expand Seattle’s protected bike lane network; connect schools to bike lanes, paths, and neighborhood greenways; and maintain and upgrade existing bike lanes. ($20 million added to expand the bike network, with a focus on South Seattle.) 
  • $100 million to install new and maintain and upgrade traffic signals for safe, reliable movement; improve pedestrian and bike accessibility; and support traffic operations during large events and for trips in and out of the port. 
  • $66 million to activate public spaces and improve lighting in partnership with business districts and community organizations so people can enjoy unique and vibrant, activated spaces. ($11 million added to improve public spaces including additional lighting leading to transit stops and stations and additional project development for Occidental Promenade.) 
  • $59 million to make direct investments in addressing climate change, reducing air pollution and making sustainable transportation options more available, in addition to hundreds of millions of dollars in climate-forward, pollution-reducing investments across other areas of the levy. ($10 million added to support Seattle City Light’s expansion of publicly available electric vehicle chargers.) 
  • $25 million to make freight improvements to support trucks delivering goods and providing services.  
  • New sidewalk and infrastructure strategies ($5 million) to increase sidewalk repair and establish a Transportation Funding Task Force. 

“After a month of consultation with the public, Mayor Harrell has made the Transportation Levy proposal even better with additional investments in walking, biking and transit,” said SDOT Director Greg Spotts. “The revised proposal would give SDOT 17% more purchasing power to maintain our modernize our streets than the current Levy to Move Seattle.” 

Mayor Harrell expressed his commitment to addressing community needs comprehensively and emphasized the importance of equitable spending and outcomes in all transportation initiatives. 

The Seattle City Council will next review the proposal and consider referral to voters for the November 2024 ballot. 

Seattle’s current transportation levy provides roughly 30 percent of the Seattle Department of Transportation’s (SDOT’s) budget and expires this year. Transportation levies have funded basic transportation services for 18 years based on public votes. 

Seattle’s transportation system is critical to a thriving city that connects people to places and opportunities. Levy funding allows SDOT to attend to the basics of the city’s transportation infrastructure while providing important investments for safety, climate, and communities.  

The proposal builds on important plans that Seattle residents shaped, including the Seattle Transportation Plan and the One Seattle Plan (currently available for public comment). The proposal brings together the priorities the public has shared, the essential needs the City has identified, and the funding resources to deliver. 
The proposal is also described in this SDOT Blog post. Full details are available here.  

Levies are paid for by Seattle property owners. Under the expiring Levy to Move Seattle, for a median home with a tax-assessed value of $804,000, the cost to taxpayers is about $23 per month. This levy proposal would increase the monthly cost by $16 per month. For a detailed chart, please visit our website.

Editor’s note – May 6, 2024: We updated this post to reflect the 2024 median home value, per King County Tax Assessor. The 2023 median home value was $866,000.

What People Are Saying: 

Rachel Smith, President and CEO, Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce 

“A thriving, equitable, and inclusive regional economy is predicated on Seattleites being able to safely and reliably get to work and school and back home to their families, as well as enjoy the natural beauty and recreational opportunities that surround us. We thank Mayor Bruce Harrell for his leadership and for incorporating feedback from employers large and small from across the city as the transportation levy was being developed. This levy is important, the right voter priorities are reflected, and we look forward to working with the Seattle City Council as it considers the proposal.” 

Kirk Hovenkotter, Executive Director, Transportation Choices Coalition

“Seattle must invest in transportation to become a safer and more accessible city. This final levy proposal will do that. We thank the transit riders and the community of advocates who spoke up to ensure this levy ushers in the transportation future we need. We thank Mayor Harrell for his leadership on the levy and for being responsive to community feedback. This proposal invests in the basics of a 21st-century transportation system. We’re excited to see an additional $20 million to speed up buses, $20 million for safe bike routes, and $26 million for sidewalks to transit included in the final levy proposal. Transit trips start at everyone’s front door, so we applaud the commitment to accelerate sidewalk spending and build over 250 blocks of sidewalk within the first four years. This proposal will help more people use transit to get safely where they need to go.”

Lee Lambert, Executive Director, Cascade Bicycle Club 

“Cascade Bicycle Club supports the Mayor’s Levy proposal because it targets bike investments where they’re needed most to ensure all Seattle residents can safely get around the city by bike. We are especially pleased that the Mayor responded to community feedback to add an extra $20 million for bike infrastructure in South Seattle, which has been historically under-funded. We thank the Mayor for committing extra resources to benefit South Seattle residents. This proposal improves the quality of existing bike routes, fills bike network gaps and builds long-needed routes in South Seattle – all top priorities for our constituents. Seattle’s bike network is an essential component of our world class transportation system, and an asset for every Seattleite, regardless of whether they bike. When you make streets safer for people on bikes, you make them safer for everyone–including drivers. We look forward to Council support of these critical investments, and for the voters to get their say in November.”

Alex Hudson, Executive Director, Commute Seattle

“Transportation infrastructure touches our lives every day, keeping it well-maintained, modernized, and accessible is foundational for our city’s prosperity. The Mayor’s proposal makes critical investments to keep our city and economy moving, to connect people to opportunity and each other, and to build a green, healthy, safe Seattle now and into the future. Commute Seattle is pleased to see investments in transit reliability, increasing multimodal access to the places Seattleites want to get to, and improving Third Ave.”  

Toshiko Hasegawa, Commission Vice President, Port of Seattle 

“A strong transportation system supports the city’s economic vitality as well as the other goals enumerated in the Seattle Transportation Plan., The Port of Seattle appreciates the benefits this proposal will provide to address safety, climate change, and equity throughout the city’s freight corridors.”  

Cecelia Black, Disability Mobility Initiative, Disability Rights Washington 

“It will take billions of dollars to address the 60 percent of Seattle streets that are inaccessible due to broken and missing sidewalks. We know one levy can’t get us there but rather than continuing to ignore the scale of the problem, the mayor’s proposal is the first fiscal policy to fully acknowledge the scale of the problem. We’re excited that the proposal builds more sidewalks right away and sets up a process to secure additional funding needed for sidewalks and bridges. We will keep fighting until our city has a connected, accessible and complete sidewalk network.”

César García, Co-Founder, Lake City Collective 

“We’ve seen firsthand how important levy funds are for communities, especially in ultra-urban, underinvested sub-neighborhoods like ours, where density coexists with a lack of safety and poor infrastructure, but most importantly, with opportunity and hope. This levy proposal is the product of a thoughtful process from a department that has been on a long internal mission, the Transportation Equity Framework, to make things right for you and me. It represents hope for those left behind and an urgent opportunity to deliver safety, reliability, and connectivity for all.”