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Mayor Durkan Outlines Vision for a City With Fewer Cars and Better Transit

Commits to Renew Transportation Benefit District This Year 

The Seattle Transportation Benefit District funds additional transit service, red bus-only lanes, and free ORCA for students and low-income residents

Seattle  (Feb. 18, 2020) – During her 2020 State of the City address, Mayor Jenny A. Durkan highlighted her key transportation goals for the City and recommitted Seattle to funding its critical transit and transportation priorities. In addition to working to deliver on light rail to Seattle more quickly, Mayor Durkan has led the City during critical periods of the Seattle Squeeze. 

In her address, she highlighted the benefits of the Seattle Transportation Benefit District, which expires this year and has:  

  • Funded the expansion of transit service in Seattle by 36% over the last two years; 
  • Provided nearly 14,000 free, year-round ORCA passes to Seattle Public School high school students, income eligible middle school students and Seattle Housing Authority residents;  
  • Allowed for the installation of more red bus-only lanes to improve the speed and reliability of transit, including 90 dedicated blocks of bus lanes by the end of 2020; and 
  • Created an on-demand shuttle service to help residents make their first-last mile connections to and from five Sound Transit Link light rail stations in southeast Seattle. Via to Transit helps ensure that South Seattle residents and transit users have more options for getting safely and quickly to key Link Light Rail transit hubs. 

Under Mayor Durkan, the City has refocused its efforts on Vision Zero. In December 2019, Mayor Durkan announced the reduction of speed limits in Seattle to 25 miles per hour on major streets citywide to improve safety on our roads. The City is also working closely with its partners at the Washington State Department of Transportation to lower speeds on state highways within the city, including Aurora Ave and Lake City Way.  Since 2017, the City of Seattle has completed almost 26 miles of protected bike lanes, greenways and bike lanes – with significant progress made towards completing Seattle’s Center City Bike Network. Mayor Durkan has also advocated to speed up the timeline for the Link station at NE 130th St. and last week the expansion committee voted to move forward with an accelerated project schedule.   

Under the leadership of Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) Director Sam Zimbabwe, SDOT has worked to ensure its delivering on its commitment of major capital projects, including the Northgate Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge to the Center City Connector Streetcar project. After ensuring financial accountability for the Center City Connector Streetcar project, the Mayor identified funding to fill the $56 million funding gap to move the project forward through a small charge on Uber and Lyft rides. In addition to identifying funding for the streetcar project with this small charge, the Mayor was able to invest in housing near transit for working families and create a first in the nation Driver Resolution Center, to protect drivers unfairly deactivated from a ridesharing platform. 

During the three-week closure of State Highway 99 known as the Seattle Squeeze, Mayor Durkan and State and local transportation leaders led a push to move residents out of vehicles, and encouraged the use of transit and alternative work arrangements.   locked0 Lis