Right now, the Seattle city council is starting to debate the budget provided by the mayor. As we reported before, the mayor’s budget contains several million to keep working on planning in the core high capacity transit corridors identified in the Transit Master Plan. Sources in city hall tell us there is council opposition to this funding – with a couple of councilmembers expected to run for mayor next year, it makes sense that they wouldn’t want to give McGinn a win going into the election.
It’s very important that this work continues. The Transit Master Plan, which we reported extensively about last year, has solid goals that would move tens of thousands of new people on electric transit. Identifying alternatives, mode, capacity, and the other outcomes of this planning work would provide projects not only for the city to fund, but also projects Sound Transit could fund, or things to fight for as part of a statewide transportation package.
The planning money in the city budget is mode neutral, but focused on rail. It could identify anything between streetcar and as high capacity as Link – and it could lead to choosing to study an even higher capacity mode. It’ll help inform those of us who want to see very high capacity transit.
There’s also money for “real” BRT – full offboard payment, electrification, things we want to see in bus service – for the Madison corridor. And there’s money to take the next step with whatever project is ready first, such as the downtown streetcar connector, the first hill streetcar extension, or light rail to Ballard.
This funding won’t make it through the city council unless we come help, by letting the council know we want it. The public comment for the transportation part of the city budget is from 9:30-10:00 on Wednesday morning. You MUST be signed in before 9:30 to testify.
Testimony is so easy it’s amazing. Stand up, and say “I want more rail transit, and we can’t wait another year.”
I’m taking an hour off work to come speak. If you can too, or if you want to know more, please comment here – or just call me at 206-683-7810 so we can talk about why it’s important!