Mayor’s Proposed Transportation Levy Won’t Get us Where We Need to Go


Together with a coalition of advocacy organizations, we are concerned with the Mayor’s proposed transportation levy which fails to address the city’s critical safety and accessibility needs.

The Mayor’s proposed levy:

  • Slashes transit funding by $52 million (30%), accounting for inflation and different levy time periods.
  • Slashes pedestrian funding by $32 million (23%), also adjusted. This funding stream includes the city's critical sidewalk maintenance and ADA programs—essential for enhancing accessibility through crossing improvements and curb ramps — which both face cuts in the proposed levy.
  • Dramatically increases car-focused spending by $189 million (33%), compared to the previous levy.

We demand that the city:

  • Reverse cuts to pedestrian and transit funding, including a significant increase in funding to build new sidewalks.
  • Dedicate at least 50% of levy funding to improvements for people walking, rolling, biking, and riding transit, which will require a larger levy of at least $1.7B.

“Seattle is one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. We need a bold transportation levy that will put us on track to achieve our equity, Vision Zero, and emissions reduction goals over the next eight years,” said Clara Cantor, Community Organizer at Seattle Neighborhood Greenways. “This levy is an opportunity to fund pedestrian safety projects, move buses faster, build sidewalks, create a connected bike network, and improve livability so that everyone gets home safely and it is easy to get where you need to go—no matter how you get around or where you live.”

A key recommendation from Director Spotts’ 2022 top-to-bottom review of Vision Zero was to reduce vehicle travel speeds and convenience to improve safety. Seattle hasn’t made progress on these goals. 1,700 people have been killed or seriously injured on our streets since the adoption of Vision Zero and the deaths continue to rise year after year.

Walking, biking, and rolling will continue to be a challenge with a quarter of all Seattle blocks remaining without sidewalks. People with disabilities are confronted with a lack of accessible pedestrian signals at over 800 street crossings.

“When we refuse to adequately invest in sidewalks, we are telling people with disabilities, elders, and children that they do not deserve to safely and freely move throughout our city. For people with disabilities, we cannot leave our houses without the risk of being forced into the street, falling, breaking our wheelchairs, scooters, and walkers, or simply getting stuck in unnavigable terrain. The next levy needs to show the same commitment to creating a functional transportation system for people with disabilities as it does for people driving cars,” said Cecelia Black, Community Organizer at Disability Rights Washington.

The Mayor’s proposed levy promises new sidewalks on just 250 of the 13,000 blocks in Seattle where they are needed (2%). This rate of construction leaves people with disabilities, elders, and families waiting 500 years before we have safe places to walk and roll.

On the climate front, Seattle has also made only modest progress. Seattle’s 2023 Climate Change Response Framework aims to more than double transit use from 11% to 24% of all trips by 2030, before the expiration of this proposed levy, but progress has been hampered by unreliable buses that are stuck in traffic.

"Seattle is currently not on track to meet its climate goals, and will not meet them until transit, walking, rolling, and biking are safer, more convenient, and faster than driving. Dedicating at least 50% of levy funding to directly benefit people walking, rolling, biking, and taking transit is a minimum. Our city urgently needs a robust transportation levy so that people can move through the city safely and that Seattle can meet its emissions reduction goals.” said Akiksha Chatterji, Campaigns Director at 350 Seattle.

To raise awareness of the proposed levy’s shortcomings, the coalition of advocacy organizations is holding two events:

  • A press conference on Monday, April 8, at 10:30 am at City Hall Plaza
  • A community event on Saturday, April 20, at 2:00 pm at Jimi Hendrix Park to celebrate Earth Day by pushing for more housing and better transportation