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Seattle Transportation Levy Would Pay For Bridges, Sidewalks, Bike Lanes

Paula Wissel
The Fairview Avenue bridge over Lake Union in Seattle is the last one in the city with wooden timber supports. The bridge will be replaced if a transportation levy passes.

Replacing aging bridges and re-paving major arterials are two things a Seattle levy on this year’s ballot promises to do.  Seattle Proposition 1 would put $930 million into transportation projects over the next 9 years.  It's a replacement, of sorts, for Seattle's Bridging the Gap levy, which is expiring. However, the new property tax measure will cost homeowners more than the old one did.The tax would cost the owner of a median priced ($450,000) Seattle home about $275 per year or $12 extra in property taxes a month. The expiring Bridging the Gap levy cost the same homeowner $130 per year.

To kick off the campaign for Seattle Proposition 1, labor, business and social service advocates joined Seattle Mayor Ed Murray under the Fairview Avenue Bridge on Lake Union. The bridge is supported by 65-year-old wooden timbers. Murray said the spot to hold the announcement was chosen for a reason.

"This wooden supported bridge, the last remaining wooden supported bridge in the city, is structurally outdated and seismically not safe," Murray said.

If voters approve Proposition 1, Fairview is one of the bridges slated to be replaced.

Also on the project list are sidewalk repairs and improvements and 50 miles of new protected bike lanes.There are also plans to provide city funding for a new Link Light rail station at Graham Street in southeast Seattle's Rainier Valley neighborhood. 

Last year, Seattle voters approved a tax measure to increase Metro bus service in the city. Mayor Ed Murray calls this levy, "the logical next step."

Paula is a former host, reporter and producer who retired from KNKX in 2021. She joined the station in 1989 as All Things Considered host and covered the Law and Justice beat for 15 years. Paula grew up in Idaho and, prior to KNKX, worked in public radio and television in Boise, San Francisco and upstate New York.