There are certainly voters in Seattle who don’t see road conditions as particularly dire, and don’t really care about better transit and bike and pedestrian safety. There are others who simply prioritize low taxes over all other infrastructure and public services. Those people simply have different values than most Seattle voters, and I wouldn’t expect them to support a $60 VLF under any circumstances.
What I find bizarre, though, is the assertion that this plan is bad because it doesn’t buy any bus hours. This seems like the wrong way to look at things. This isn’t Bridging the Gap, where Metro was offering matching funds. For instance, Seattle could write a $1m check to Metro to buy about 10,000 bus hours. That’s about a 30 bus hours a day, somewhere in the city, for a year. At the end of the year, you cough up another $1m or you’re back to square one.
Or, Seattle could do a corridor improvement project like the Delridge TMP improvements. For that same $1m you could save an average 1.7 minutes on each and every peak period trip. There are dozens of trips per day that realize those savings, hundreds more off-peak, and they realize them forever. In some cases this “merely” improves speed, reliability, and the overall experience of riders, and trips are perceived as faster because they are given priority. It’s hard to say for sure without access to Metro’s scheduling software, but on some of these corridors, a few minutes of time savings may be enough to take a single bus off the road, resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings every year.