The Streets for All Seattle Campaign, which is supporting a Yes vote on the $60 vehicle license fee, is having their official kickoff party Tuesday evening at Moe Bar on Capitol Hill, starting at 6.
It’s said that the VLF is too regressive. And it’s true that it’s less progressive than a motor vehicle excise tax. On the other hand, the poorest of the poor don’t own cars. Furthermore, it’s the only authority that the legislature has granted Seattle. If you think rejecting this measure is going to spur more funding authority, progressive or otherwise, out of Olympia, you have a radically different perception of that place than I do. To me, it’s really a question of whether you want these improvements to come soon or you don’t.
When I broke out the plan for transit spending, I was pretty grumpy about its composition. I still am. It’s not that the proposed buckets contain bad projects, it’s that my priorities would be a bit different. That said, I’m really excited about $40m for corridor improvements to make major bus routes run faster and more reliably, and $18m to engineer the 4th/5th and Aloha streetcar extensions to a place where the City can chase private or federal money.
And while I’m not a huge proponent of more trolley wire for its own sake, the $20m trolley account would pay for putting wire on Yesler, which creates important operational efficiencies, with quite a bit left over. I’m somewhat skeptical of the $22m for neighborhood connection and access projects, but will reserve judgment until we see what those projects are.
Of course, I haven’t even mentioned road maintenance, bicycle, and pedestrian projects — together about 50% of the package — which most transit advocates will find fairly uncontroversial.
The City Council has a lot of authority to modify the priorities as conditions change, but the Council in 2013 or 2015 is going to look a lot like the one today. I wouldn’t expect significant change without the emergence of important new facts.