After a bumpy start, the Move Seattle levy is slowly starting to spend significant funds, SDOT staff told the Council’s Sustainability and Transportation Committee on Tuesday.
The meeting began with advocates from the MASS coalition giving testimony on the need for prioritizing buses in a time of climate crisis. Committee Chair Mike O’Brien agreed, noting that if the city is going to ask people to ride transit, it ought to be reliable and convenient.
SDOT staff presented the quarterly oversight report, which includes a status update on dozens of levy-funded projects. Spending has been lagging for several years now, due to a combination of factors, including an uncertain federal funding environment, difficulty hiring construction firms in this white-hot labor market, Mayor Durkan’s 2018 “reset,” and a surprisingly cold and snowy winter. Indeed, money is being shoveled out the door even slower than SDOT had forecasted just six months ago:
Still, despite the snow and the Seattle Squeeze, this was the busiest Q1 to date in terms of project spending:
Staff were generally optimistic, pointing out that the Lander St. Overpass project is now $20M under its $130M budget. On the other hand, contracting issues are causing challenges with the Northgate pedestrian bridge project (though the project as a whole hasn’t yet been delayed).
We’ll get more updates on the multimodal corridors, including RapidRide improvements, later this year. Most corridor work will be in concert with Metro (e.g. RapidRidge G & H), though on Rainier Avenue multimodal updates will arrive in 2022, before RapidRide bows in 2024.
Finally, later this year SDOT also plans to identify a potential new location for the Mt. Baker transit center as part of the Accessible Mt. Baker project, which will be a welcome improvement.