Mayor Jenny Durkan and City Council President M. Lorena Gonzalez Celebrate Passage of Seattle Transportation Benefit District Renewal

Seattle (July 27, 2020) – Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan and Seattle City Council President M. Lorena Gonzalez issued the following statement celebrating the passage of the Seattle Transportation Benefit District legislation by the Seattle City Council:  

“The Seattle Transportation Benefit District is a critical tool for Seattle to invest in our transit and transportation priorities. While we know COVID-19 has dramatically impacted transit ridership and service, we also know our essential workers continue working long days and nights to keep our City running during the COVID-19 crisis, and we must provide them with reliable and affordable transit service.  

“As we begin the long journey of economic recovery for Seattle and our most vulnerable residents, we must invest in equity. Seattle Transportation Benefit District has invested in expanding regular transit service to all corners of Seattle and preserving as much transit service as possible will prepare our City for recovery moving forward. While we know sales tax is a regressive and flawed revenue tool, we believe a small increase of .05% will allow the City to invest in additional programs to promote equity and maintain the transit service relied upon by so many residents.  

“The Seattle Transportation Benefit District legislation will provide safe, efficient, and frequent transit for all Seattleites, particularly essential workers fighting against this global pandemic and preserve a robust, connected transit system in Seattle that centers equity. The legislation will also allow the City to make investments that address acute mobility needs in areas like West Seattle and continue to invest in the program we created for free transit for students and Low Income Access programs for our vulnerable neighbors. 

“We want to acknowledge and thank Councilmember Alex Pedersen for his work on the Seattle Transportation Benefit District as Transportation Chair. We are thankful to Seattle voters who have overwhelmingly approved the Seattle Transportation Benefit District in the past, and we believe our residents will join us in investing in transit, transportation, and equity at this critical time in Seattle’s recovery.” 
 
The Seattle Transportation Benefit District is expected to raise between $30 and $45 million a year to invest in transit service and transit access priorities over the next 6 years. In addition to maintaining a robust, connected transit network and critical programs like ORCA Opportunity and free transit for low-income residents, this STBD proposal will focus on investing in neighborhoods with acute mobility challenges, like West Seattle, and neighborhoods that historically face environmental injustices, like South Park and the Duwamish Valley. To aid in recovery for residents disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Seattle Transportation Benefit District will focus resources on investing in routes that serve working people, communities of color, and transit-dependent neighborhoods.

With passage by City Council, Mayor Durkan expects to sign the measure in the coming days and it will be placed on the November 2020 ballot for consideration by Seattle voters.