The Citizens’ Transportation Advisory Committee III (CTAC III, pronounced “Seatac”) presented its findings on Monday to Seattle’s Transportation Benefit District board, technically a separate organization but actually just the city council. The TBD tasked CTAC III with figuring out how large of a vehicle license fee to ask for on the ballot (up to $80, on top of the $20 the Council already approved on its own authority) and how that money should be split up among the many needs of each transportation mode.
The committee recommended the full $80. Combined with the existing $20 that hasn’t been allocated yet, that amounts to $34m in revenue each year for SDOT. The report included a matrix that explains in detail the kinds of projects that apply to each pot of money.
The headline allocation levels are 43% for transit, 32% for road preservation and safety, and 24% for bicycle and pedestrian projects. If the $80 measure didn’t pass, the transit portion would be hit the hardest and bike/ped would fare well; the latter is about all that’s affordable on $7m per year.
The categories blur a bit so it’s best not to get to wrapped around those percentages. The infamous “road diets”, where four lanes become three and a turn lane, are actually safety projects, but they have fringe benefits for bikes and pedestrians. Road repairs are not just pothole-fixing, but also the “complete streets” program.
The “transit access” portion of the transit bin sounds like it includes lots of pedestrian and bicycle improvements. In fact, “only” $10.7m (out of $14.7m) of the transit fund is dedicated to Transit Master Plan projects, which are traditional rail, speed, and reliability improvements on major corridors. The remainder seeks innovative ways to serve people who live well away from those corridors.
The City Council will ultimately determine how large of a measure goes on the ballot and how the ordinance will allocate resources between various types of projects.