Kshama Sawant hasn’t given up on
more progressive different taxes for transit ($):
Whether or not voters approve Seattle Transportation Benefit District Proposition 1, Sawant says, she will ask her council colleagues to support a budget amendment that would raise additional money for Metro Transit…
Her plan calls for an annual head tax of $18 per employee and a commercial-parking-tax hike of 5 percent, which she says could together raise an estimated $20 million a year…
“Many council members said, ‘This is not the right time to talk about it. We need Prop. 1 to pass. Let’s talk about it during the budget,’ ” she said. “Well, here were are.”
Good for Ms. Sawant to call attention to the continuing need for investment in the bus system. Even if Prop. 1 passes, we will not have reached the point of diminishing returns for bus service.
Her office has not yet clarified if she is open to funding bus speed and reliability capital improvements using this money. Prop. 1 regrettably excludes this purpose, which through a one-time expenditure could improve the experience of riders, make transit viable for more people, and often save Metro and the City operating costs in the long run. It is often both a cheaper solution than adding a bus trip and better for riders. Although there are cases where more bus trips are the right answer, additional flexibility for SDOT will allow them to do the most good for the most riders.
A good list of projects to start with is in the Transit Master Plan, pages 3-14 to 3-24. The Council does not need a ballot measure to approve these taxes.