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.

92 Replies to “Streets For All Seattle Campaign Kicks Off”

  1. I would completely ignore the “regressive” argument. It’s 60 bucks. How regressive can $60 really be?

    1. Just for clarity’s sake, it’s $60 on top of the $20 the city is already charging, on top of the new $20 county fee, on top of the state fees.

      And to the “working poor”,(for example, some that have to have a car to work) $60 could be used in many, many other ways. Food, clothing, shelter for example…

      The city needs to work harder in Olympia to get the funding authority it needs from creative sources and not just on the backs of car owners.

      This campaign is handicapped because of the “regressive” nature of this fee, the perception of hostility towards car ownership, and the area’s general libertarian paranoia towards government and taxes.

      Oh, and last week, someone I spoke with mentioned that there had been some form of MVET collected for the monorail system that never got built. They were curious what happened with that money? They said it was substantial on the order of about $100 per year per car. (Wikipedia says they spent all of $124 Million except for $425k transferred to KCMetro)

      So, those are some of the challenges this campaign faces. Not insurmountable, but definitely an uphill battle.

      1. Sure, my point is simply that $60 is too small an amount to register on the “regressive outrage” meter.

        It’s reasonable to point out that the fee is regressive, but I think it’s unreasonable to oppose it for only that reason.

        Going forward, I agree that we need to find better financing solutions. In the meantime, we need these projects (and more) to get going.

      2. Seattle is certainly *not* hostile to taxation or government in general. Opposing the package based on tea party arguments would be a sure loser for the opposition.

        However, the per capita rate of car ownership is higher than most anywhere else in the developed world, so the campaign’s “Streets for All” moniker is a good way to oppose the “war on cars” meme. That meme will fall flat as voters are reminded that a substantial portion of the package is for road repaving and maintenance, and bridge repair and replacement.

        A “war on cars” this package most certainly is not.

      3. Then Kevin, you have truly not been poor. Consider yourself lucky. But many people at some point in their life have been touched by poverty. They know that $60, as measly as it is to some folks, does make the difference one week on whether you can eat, or pay the rent. If you can’t fathom that, you need to look around more.

        As for the voters of Seattle, I suggest taking a look at the chart that was posted last week of the precinct level voting patterns for the DBT. It should provide some interesting data on how the voters might react to a tax on cars.

        Don’t get me wrong. I personally want to see the city invest in “Streets for All” but, as with the campaign against the DBT, activists are not understanding the cultural and political aspects of what they are asking of the voters. You can “weave a story” and you can gloss over supposed objections and you can dismiss the plight of legions of people, but you do this at your own peril.

      4. Some good points, Charles. I really would like to know what the public got back in exchange for the money spent on the monorail- a project I didn’t completely oppose. If the project produced any engineering studies pertinent to future transit through SODO and over to West Seattle, I’d like them made available.

        But I wonder why people with a paranoia about government and taxes aren’t also up in arms about streets, roads, and highways. I really doubt the average person would be freer or better off financially if, as in the old days, most cross-country thoroughfares were private toll roads.

        For private fire department, rent a CD of “Gangs of New York,” which illustrates the freedom to have your burning house looted by warring gangs with fire-wagons.

        Mark Dublin

      5. Even with all new proposed fees – everyone is STILL paying a hell of a lot less for car tab fees than they did pre-Eyman.

        People need to quit whining (or ridiculously invoking the working poor) around the car tab fee issue.

      6. Sixty dollars is a lot only if you have to pay it all at once. Sixty dollars is not a lot if you actually budget for it. I don’t want anyone who drinks coffee or smokes or goes to McDonalds complaining about $60 to drive their car which costs more than riding the bus. It’s less than 25 cents a day folks. Really.

      7. Like that attitude of calling people whiners is going to win you votes for this proposition. Quit insulting people. Try using positive values. Don’t tell people to budget for it or quit consuming “fast food” because that is very patronizing. Taxes are deeply personal to people.

        Your objective should be to pass this proposition without pissing off (too many) people. Hopefully by inspiring them. If you resort to “elitist” tactics that create bad will in significant numbers of people, you WILL have a problem in the future.

      8. SSI pays about $700/month. SHA rent for someone at that income level is about $200/month. That leaves $500/month (and about $100 in food stamps) for all other expenses. Of that, $60 would represent a full 10% of what’s left.

        The fact is, this is a regressive way to fund government. I’m voting for it, because I think the alternative — cutting transit service — is even more regressive. But it’s a damn shame that this is the best revenue source we have.

      9. Martin,

        Yep, you’re right. Duh. That’s what I get for posting when I’ve slept for only 3 of the past 36 hours.

        Still, that doesn’t change the fact that $60 is 0.7% of that income, but 0.06% of a $100,000 income. It’s just not even close. Can you imagine having an income tax where the rate was 10 times higher on the lowest bracket than the highest?

        I’m still voting for this fee; I just wish I could be voting for an income tax instead.

      10. However, the per capita rate of car ownership is higher than most anywhere else in the developed world, so the campaign’s “Streets for All” moniker is a good way to oppose the “war on cars” meme. That meme will fall flat as voters are reminded that a substantial portion of the package is for road repaving and maintenance, and bridge repair and replacement.

        18% for street repair. 11% for signs and lane painting (some of which will surely go for bike lanes). 71% for other crap, including tens of millions for words, i.e., studies and propaganda. I don’t think the Boy Mayor and his cronies will be able to make this one fly.

      1. It’s 20 cents a day. How much gas will 20 cents get you? Or how many french fries at McDonalds or how many cigarettes or how many times can you go to a movie on 20 cents a day? It’s nothing. It’s about a tenth of one percent of the average American’s income. Time to move on and talk about something that is large enough to actually negatively effect one’s life.

      2. Since this is such a small amount, in your opinions, why limit it to motor vehicles?

        How about $60 per year on every bicycle?

        And $60 per year on every ORCA card?

        Why tax only motor vehicles?

        And, are you claiming that only average households have motor vehicles? Low-income and below-average income households do not have motor vehicles? Is that your claim? If not, then what is your point?

      3. I’ll gladly pay a fee to register my bicycle that’s in proportion to the damage to streets and the environment that it causes.

  2. I think it would be brilliant to talk to the folks at Mapleleaf and get them to publicly change their minds. Their critique is in the category of arguing over amounts, in contrast to JF’s, who is just in an anti-anything-but-automobiles rage.

    1. Is David Miller opposing the $60 fee? That seems odd considering what he had to say when I spoke with him in early August. If he is then I suspect he and others like him can be brought around simply on the point that this is the best we’re likely to get for a while.

      1. He’s arguing the priorities are wrong – i.e., we should spend more money on new sidewalks and maintenance instead.

  3. This is just the latest case of motorists subisdizing everyone else: transit users, bicyclists, pedestrians, et. al.

    Since the revenue is going to be used “for all”, why are only cars being taxed?

    How about “Taxes on All”, including those who don’t own cars?

    Or, better yet, “Pay Your Own Way,” where the people who ride buses pay the full cost of the buses, and the people who ride bikes pay the full cost of the bike paths, etc.

    And to try to argue that this tax is not regressive is hilarious. The tax is the same on a $500 beater car as on a $50,000 Mercedes. That is as regressive as it gets. That’s like everyone paying the exact same amount of income tax, regardless of income. Not the same tax rate — but the exact same amount.

    Sales tax is regressive, but not anywhere near as regressive as this tax. At least with the sales tax, if you buy a $50,000 Mercedes you pay a lot more tax than if you buy a $500 beater. This tax is exactly the same on every car.

      1. “But so what?”

        Because people are applying terms like “regressive tax” to something that’s not a tax. What other fees are we going to start calling regressive taxes to scare people into opposing?

    1. “This is just the latest case of motorists subisdizing everyone else: transit users, bicyclists, pedestrians, et. al”

      Motorists infrastructure is subsidized by everyone else to the tune of 70%. How about we have motorists pay their way from now on?

      1. Wrong about that. Taxes and fees paid by motorists in WA state exceed the amount of money spent on roads in WA state at all levels.

      2. “Taxes and fees paid by motorists in WA state exceed the amount of money spent on roads in WA state at all levels.”

        No it doesn’t.

    2. Norman,
      If you don’t like the tax being a flat fee, why don’t you talk to the legislature? The city had no power to charge different rates on different vehicle values.

      Also note that a portion of this fee will be going toward pedestrian and road improvements. It isn’t all transit and bike infrastructure. Even some of the transit and bike infrastructure will benefit motorists and pedestrians.

      As for subsidies, I’ll remind you that automobiles are heavily subsidized. When the cars pay their own way we can talk about transit, bikes, and pedestrians “paying their own way”.

      I’ll remind you that if every transit rider, bicyclist, and pedestrian drove their own personal vehicle instead congestion would be far worse. You could claim the money currently going toward transit, bikes, and pedestrians would be enough to expand road capacity, but in reality it would be a drop in the bucket. It certainly wouldn’t be enough to expand the roads sufficiently to keep congestion at current levels. There is also the issue of where all those drivers will be parking their cars.

      1. The city should have declined to use the flat tax, which is outrageously regressive. Instead, the city is trying to pass a flat tax.

        There is not one word in the proposition about “road” improvements.

        Automobiles are NOT subisdized. Automobiles are TAXED! You don’t even know the difference between a tax and a subsidy? How much of the cost of my car did taxpayers pay? lol

    3. Does it matter who subsidizes who? The money goes into a big pot and is dispursed according to the values that we as a society voted for.

      1. We haven’t voted on this yet.

        And, hell yes it matters who subsidizes who. Would you like to pay taxes on your bike to help pay for my car?

      2. I’m curious, Norman, whether you actually live in Seattle. If you do, please understand that my vote is going to cancel yours. I happen to think, as do many others, than a tax of $60 on a car every year is money well spent to improve the quality of life for residents of Seattle. If you don’t live in Seattle, then it really doesn’t matter what you think.

        Also, if I knew that I could pay $60 a year to support high quality bicycle infrastructure in this city then I would do it in a heartbeat. I don’t think the city has that kind of taxing authority unfortunately. Also, history has shown that bicycle registration laws are net money-losers for taxing authorities, so it would be logistically difficult to collect taxes on cyclists alone.

      3. Norman,

        This week I bought a bike and paid the government about $60 in sales tax. That money goes into the general fund where it will much more likely be spent on automobile infrastructure than on bikes. I can’t say as though I liked it but as Oliver Wendell Holmes said “Taxes are the price we pay for civilization”.

      4. Jeff, if you can pay $27 a year to license a dog, you can pay $27 a year to license your bike. Quit being such a free rider.

      1. Mercedes are already taxed. It is called the “sales tax.” You ever heard of it? On a $50,000 Mercedes, the sales tax in Seattle is almost $5,000. How much sales tax did you pay on your ORCA card?

        There is also the MVET on all motor vehicles in our area. The MVET on a $50,000 Mercedes is probably several hundred dollars per year, at least, although, my car is not worth more than about $3,000, so I don’t know what the ST MVET on a $50,000 car would be. How much MVET do you pay on your ORCA card each year?

      2. Stormy,

        I don’t pay any tax on my ORCA card because I don’t have one. I live in Vancouver (No, not THAT one) so instead I have a C-Tran monthly pass on which I pay no sales tax, but I would gladly do so. Feel free to suggest that to your state legislator. It would be about 9.00/month more which I’m confident I can scrape up.

        As a matter of fact, I’m so “gung-ho” on sales tax that I don’t buy anything on the Portland side of the river unless it simply is not sold on our side. Fortunately, that’s not many things.

        Unfortunately I also pay Oregon income tax because I work as an I/T contractor in Beaverton.

        Just so you can rant with more accuracy, a $50K car (Mercedes or otherwise) would pay $150 per year for the SoundTransit MVET (0.3%). I guess that’s “several hundred” if you’re counting in Argentine Pesos at 4.2 to the buck.

        Cristina Fernandez — Stormy’s latest crush.

  4. Changing the subject from tax collections to what they buy, let’s talk about streetcar alignments. Has the Fourthth-Fifth couplet really been written into any official plan? If so, I think it’s a mistake. Same with proposed car-line on First.

    My own recent alignment-walks through Downtown leave me thinking that best streetcar alignment would be east side of second, turning east on Pine, and north to current SLU terminal on Fifth.

    More room, and easier grades. Fifth below City Hall would probably have to shut down in ice conditions. First Avenue merchants won’t even part with parking for rush hour. Idea of First for Waterfront traffic, I’ve already addressed at length.

    One thing new tax money could do: First Avenue already has trolleybus wire the whole length of First between Jackson and Seattle Center- except for several blocks below Broad Street.

    It also currently has hardly any bus service at all- a really ridiculous situation I can’t believe more people don’t complain about. So basically finishing the wire on First- which I think used to be there before the 70’s- would be a good use for this money,

    Mark Dublin

    1. A streetcar from Broadway to Intl Dist to SLU would be more useful than two short disconnected streetcars, no matter whether it runs on 4th/5th or 1st. I assume 4th/5th is cheaper, which is important in this tight-money climate, and the difference can be applied to other transit improvements, which would also benefit Seattle. It would be nice to give tourists a one-seat ride to Pike Place Market from Intl Dist and SLU, but that’s not the only priority.

      Moving the 1/2/13 to First would make for a slightly faster trip to Queen Anne, although the tradeoff would be a 2-block further walk for a large percentage of the riders.

      1. This is something I don’t get: if we regular expect people to walk 1/4 of a mile to their bus stop outside downtown, why is a 2-block walk to a stop/station in downtown something worth considering as a transit planner? I know the hills are steep downtown, but there are steep hills all over town, and in downtown at least there are public hillclimb escalators/elevators.

      2. Because there are more riders coming from 4th and 5th, and 6th and 7th and 9th and Bellevue, than are coming from Western and Alaskan Way.

      3. Yeah, but so what? We’re talking about a few blocks people have to walk–and they’re going to probably walk MORE blocks when they get off the bus near their home. So why is it such a big deal for them to walk that far downtown? I’m not trying to be argumentative, I’m really wondering if there’s some reason why, in downtown Seattle, we can’t expect people to walk 5 blocks to a bus stop, but we can in areas outside downtown.

      4. Metro’s said they moved service off 1st to avoid problems with reliability (see Bruce’s graphics on existing service on 1st downtown) and they also like the idea of having a transit spine on 3rd.

        If you’re going to move any service, I’d migrate suburban service back to the 2nd/4th couplet since much of it isn’t all-day service anyway. Keep the ETB fleet on 3rd since so many people transfer between them.

        And I share Mark’s concerns for both the 1st Ave and 4th/5th Ave streetcar proposals.

  5. To be honest I really haven’t decided how to vote on this one.

    I generally don’t like these “a little bit of something for everyone” type ballot measures. It’s almost as if the politicians who wrote this thing think that by putting in a little money in for sidewalks they will get the sidewalk vote, a little money for roads and they will get the road vote, a little money for ETB’s and they will get the ETB vote, etc. I find that approach to be intellectually insulting and demeaning. Additionally, the measure loses focus and the average voter often finds more to dislike then to like.

    Plus I’m concerned that there aren’t any solid firewalls between the funding items. I am very distrustful that the funding mix will get changed in out years, and I’m much less likely to vote for something like this with McGinn in office. He has demonstrated that he can’t be trusted, so why should I trust him now?

    Bottom line: If this was $20/tab for ETB’s and Street Cars, or $20/tab for sidewalk and ped improvements, then my vote would be an automatic “Yes”. But with McGinn in office and an amorphous mix of everything under the kitchen sink? I’m very leery…..

    1. I agree. I’d rather see some big, useful projects rather than barely noticing as the money gets smeared across the whole city.

    2. Last year SDOT spent around $15 million for pedestrian projects. We’ll be hard-pressed to keep this year’s budget cycle from cutting that. No, the VLF won’t solve our enormous pedestrian project backlog, but the pedestrian share of funding is significant and will have real impacts.

      McGinn won’t decide how the money gets spent. Council will.

  6. One thing I think several of the above commenters might agree on:

    It would be an excellent campaign tactic for the City Council to postpone any increase in parking fines at least until after the election- and cancel the contract with the “boot” company permanently.

    Whether the Council’s intent is in fact more about fund-raising than traffic management, it carries enough of the same odor to put it in receptacle found at every dog park.

    Better measure would be to remove parking completely from key transit routes- like any street with wire over it through any commercial district, or at least forbid it at rush hour. Current fines backed by a tow-truck should work.

    And also have transit plan include parking structures with comfortable transit stops at the foot of the elevator.

    Also have to agree about class prejudice here. While the income of anyone on the Seattle City Council doubtless makes fines and taxes a minor inconvenience, that’s not the case for many of us who will vote on the ballot measure.

    Mark Dublin

  7. We should be focusing our efforts on making sure I-1125 doesnt pass. It currently has 50% approval in the polls, and 22% disapproval. That means theres a good chance it will pass.

    What I want to know is, if I-1125 does pass, will that really kill East Link? To me, East Link is the most important transit project in the State’s history.It would be disasterous if it was stopped. Could the legislature overturn that component of I-1125, on the basis that an intiative can’t encompass so many elements?

    Don’t get wrong, the $60 fee is important, but it’s small potatoes compared to I-1125, which could set our state’s transportation infrastructure back decades. We need to organize to make sure I-1125 doesn’t pass.

    1. The no on I-1125 campaign isn’t likely to hurt for money. Most of the large businesses in the state are on record as opposing it as is the KCLC.

      If I-1125 passes I fully expect it to get tossed out in court as unconstitutional. It clearly violates the single-subject provision as well as having a number of other issues.

      1. From a legal perspective, wouldn’t an effective “end-around” of I-1125 be for ST & WSDOT to just sign the airspace lease? It would be a binding contract, and then I-1125’s subsequent enactment could not impair it.

    2. University Link, North Link, and (already built) Central Link are the most important transit projects in the State’s history. East Link, the North Corridor, and Federal Way are important but will not transform the region to the same extent.

      Seattle Link addresses the pent-up demand for rapid transit, for those who’ve already ditched their cars and moved to where the most existing transit and walkable neighborhoods are, and it allows those around them to get around easier than they could before. But the Eastside does not have as many opportunities to live near a station and find most of your needs within walking distance of a station. So it doesn’t have as much potential even with Link. Also, East Link will not have as much time-advantage over the 550 and Bellevue-Redmond buses as Seattle Link over its buses. So East Link is important, but it’s less transformative and less vital than Seattle Link.

      It allows those who’ve already bought into the car-free lifestyle and moved to transit-friendly areas to get around easier without all this 30-minute-frequency-and-no-express after 7pm and on weekends.

      East Link would be a significant addition to that network, and would tie the region together better, but it can’t have as much as Link in Seattle because fewer people will be able to live near it or find all their needs within walking distance of a station. Time-wise it will have less advantage over the 550 than Seattle link over its bus routes.

      1. Thumbs up, Mike!

        Living in Shoreline myself, I’d be happy to see money from East Link go to North Link. Then, extra money could go for a streetcar line from downtown to Ballard, passing next to Seattle Center. If people vote for I-1125, then they get what they deserve.

      2. Mike,

        I agree. East Link is a very nice to have but not critical project. If the portion of the initiative forbidding rail use of the I-90 bridge is upheld it would be easy to use the center lanes for articulated trolley buses instead of trains. There would not be the same level of labor cost savings as with four-car LRT’s but the capital costs would be lower. The reconstruction of the bridge deck necessary for a rail structure could be avoided.

        Metro has agreed to grade-separate the Link route south and west of the 16th NE corridor; a busway could replace the railbed along NE 112th and the Bellevue tunnel. Since buses can negotiate tighter turns and steeper grades, the tunnel might be cheaper to build for buses as well.

        The only costs for the I-90 bridge would be hanging the wire over the reversible lanes and adding a Jersey barrier between the eastbound bus lane and the Mercer Island lane.

        It would end cheating just as completely as would a complete change to rail, because private vehicles using the MI lane would HAVE to exit, instead of jumping into the (supposedly) HOV-only lanes east of Island Crest Way. And of course diesel buses could continue to use the facility; they should be terminated at the ID station, though.

      3. J. Reddoch, North Link is light rail to Northgate. Since the extension north of Northgate hasn’t gotten a finalized EIS, it needs to undergo an alternatives analysis. Part of that will be deciding on a preferred alignment, but it also needs to verify that light rail is the appropriate mode for the corridor.

      4. +1.

        To be honest, if East Link were on the ballot today, and it wasn’t tied to anything else, I’m not sure I’d vote for it. You build rail when you have strong all-day demand. I don’t think that the Eastside has that demand today, and I’m not convinced that they will any time in the near future, even with East Link’s help.

        U-Link and North Link will revolutionize our region’s transit infrastructure and mentality. These projects have the potential to transform Seattle into a city where it’s not just possible, but desirable, to live car-free. The trip from the U-District to downtown will be 9 minutes, potentially with 3-minute peak frequency; that’s better than driving, and worlds faster than the bus today. The bus system in North Seattle will turn into a feeder system for Link, and the excruciating delays across the ship canal bridges will be a thing of the past.

        East Link will be a bit faster than the 550, and will probably be lightly used (compared to max capacity) outside of peak. Basically, it’ll be a commuter rail with subway frequency. That’s not a bad thing to have — it’s got lots of growth potential, and Bellevue is definitely a regional growth center. But it’s certainly not essential.

  8. Here’s what you need to worry about from the Legislature. All those years ago, the State Supreme Court ruled Tim Eyman’s first initiative unconstitutional on the exac grounds that it contained two subjects.

    All the legislators really had to do was tell the public they’d gotten the message, and that things like really unfair assessments of car valuation would be fixed- and Tim would have gone back to the distasteful but necessary trade of selling watches. Harsher than logging or commercial fishing, but somebody has to sell them.

    Instead, the lawmakers passed the whole unconstitutional piece of crap themselves. The Governor, who should have cited the ruling in his veto message, signed it. Rest is history.

    One thing on transit’s side this time: some heavy hitters in the current Bellevue business community really want East LINK. So let’s campaign as hard as we can to beat 1125, and also let our reps know if they flake out this time it’ll cost them.

    Mark Dublin

  9. One of the under-appreciated benefits of I-1125 is street maintenance. Contrary to what many may think, street maintance is NOT just for cars. It provides a smoother ride to anyone who uses a wheeled vehicle on a street, including both bicyclists and bus riders.

    The existing Bridging the Gap levy has done some wonderful repaving on many streets in my neighborhood, making them much easier to bike on than before. However, there are still many streets left with decrepit pavement that I’m waiting for a resurfacing job. Hopefully, I-1125 will provide the money to do it.

    1. You’re talking about the benefits of Proposition 1, right? I-1125 is the Eyman initiative to ban market-based tolling, renege on the agreement to use the I-90 lanes for East Link, among other things. Please, please, please don’t vote for I-1125.

    2. You are confusing the two, as Brent noted.

      But now that you’ve raised the “Bridging the Gap,” levy, I’d like to talk about that. They promised to replace every street sign in the city if we voted for it. My neighborhood is still waiting. It’s one more reason to vote against the car tab fee: They always lie. Always.

    3. Oops, I did get the two mixed up. I will definately be voting “no” on I-1125, as I would automatically on anything coming from Eyman.

  10. I will vote for 60 bucks. That equals three and a half 30 packs of Milwaukee’s Best Ice at Rite-Aid. Yes, even a drunk like me can afford that.

  11. Part of the problem with our current tax structures, is that they have a) not kept up in inflation, and b) kept up with the increasing fuel efficiency of motor vehicles. Adding another fee ontop of a fee will not solve our problems. Its going to have to require politicans to do their jobs, and take a look at how much revenue is needed to accomplish these goals, and how best do find sustainable sources of. Finally, if a valuation tax is chosen, it needs to be setup so that its simply not based on origonal MSRP or purchase price of the vehicle. not only did that produce voter backlash in the form of i-695, but for other vehicles its not an accurate representation of the price paid for the vehicle or even what the vehicle is now worth.

  12. This proposition will go down in flames. It deserves to. What worries me is that it will drag down the families and education levy, which will be on the same ballot. Voters might be so pissed off and stressed that they’ll reject both. If that happens, then the smug, self-satisfied “progressives” here ought to take a hard look in the mirror, but I won’t hold my breath. They’ll whine up a storm, just like the Republicans did after Rossi lost.

    The numbers that everyone’s using are contained in the July Citizens Transit Advisory Committee report. They give annual figures, based on an $80 tab fee, so to convert to 10 years and a $60 fee you have to multiply everything by 7.5.

    Here are some take-aways:

    This is an urban planner’s wet dream. If you look through the various categories of spending, you’ll find all kinds of reports, studies, and “educational” campaigns. Which means an uninterrupted supply of lattes for City Hall staff. Woo-hoo! Hey, everyone, have you noticed a word shortage in Seattle? If so, then vote “Yes” on this, because you’ll be paying tens of millions of dollars for more words. A lot more words. Yum.

    Only 18% goes to fix the streets Yup, there’s another 11% for signs and lane markings (I’m sure that will include more green boxes and bike lanes), but only 18% for concrete. Children, that’s not enough, and that’s the main reason this will be defeated. You love motorists when it comes time to pick our pockets, but you hate us when it comes time to do any maintenance.

    No guarantees. Not that McGinn, his cronies, and City Council could just throw it into the general fund and do whatever they want, and then gin up some report that depicts regular spending as Prop. 1 spending. No, they’d never, ever do such a thing!

    Streetcars get the biggest allocation. Yeah, and they’ve been just fantastically useful. Just what we need: A quaint toy to bring Paul Allen’s friends from downtown to South Lake Union. Gee.

    I could go on, but that ought to be enough. Folks, there’s something that hasn’t sunk into your comfortable craniums: We’re in a depression. Not a recession. $60 is nothing to do, but it’s something to other people. Everywhere you turn, there’s this fee, that charge, this co-pay. They add up real, real fast. Not that you’d know, because you’re rich. And the rich are always oblivious.

    The fee will go down in flames. And you know what will really help sink it? McGinn’s endorsement. That fool could endorse tomorrow’s sunrise and it’d get voted down. Someone should tell him to oppose it. Mayhe it’d have a chance. In any case, I wonder how many stompings will be needed until the message gets through. Well, you’re about to find out, aren’t you?

      1. I’m glad you think you’ll win this. I really am, because it gives me a glimmer of hope that when the tab fee is crushed, your crowd might understand that you’ve finally lost it. But I won’t be holding my breath. I’m sure you’ll just whine.

  13. I don’t own a car and won’t be paying any car license fee and I’m against it.
    There is no reason to expect the city to spend this money wisely. Money and resources wasted.

    1. Frankly, I think they’d just throw it into the general fund. McGinn, in particular, was elected on a lie. Why trust him on this?

  14. You have to love it when they say “streets for all,” and “build streets,” when only 18% of the money would go to building streets.

    1. My, my, my, my, my, my, MY! Somebody certainly has his panties in a wad about our “crowd” here at STB.

      Is ittey bittey ew feewing weft out of Seattle society? Do the neighbors roll their eyes? Do they whisper?

      Maybe Auburn would be a better place to live?

      Maybe Texas would be a better place to live! Oh, probably not; I forgot about that darn 40 mile LRT system in Dallas and the coming 50 mile one in Houston. BUT, they’re not streetcars!

      Maybe Mississippi? Definitely no transit “crowd” there.

      1. Wait a couple months. You and the [ad hom] Mayor lost on the tunnel, and you’re gonna lose even bigger on the car tabs. Would you care to hum a few bars of your whine in advance?

  15. I’m voting no for various reasons:

    First, if the City is too lazy (or dishonest) to identify how the money should be spent, citizens would be foolish to approve it. Slush funds (and that’s what this will become) don’t tend to promote responsible spending.

    Second, maybe 60 bucks isn’t a lot for the Sierra Clib set, it is a lot for many of us right now. Know anyone on a fixed income? Ask them how easily they will be able to cough up the money. Does the Council care about less affluent people? This isn’t a great way to show it. This just pushes that many more people into Burien, Tukwila, etc.

    Lastly, what a cynical way to structure a tax. Why not break it down to 20 dollar increments and let people approve all/some or none. I hope this meets the same fate as the bag tax.

    1. Saw a great quote today “The rich ride bikes, the poor ride buses.” “Streets for All” is propaganda spin for more social inequality.

      1. The plan spends 18% to fix streets. It’s a complete fraud, and the voters will reject the latest scheme from [ad hom] Mayor McGinn and his smugster cronies.

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