Guest Opinion

Let's Move Seattle: 10 Reasons People Are Voting Yes

An affordable, accountable, equitable investment in our transportation system.

By Shefali Ranganathan October 12, 2015

1. More—and better—transit options for all of us. The Let’s Move Seattle replacement levy funds seven new RapidRide+ transit corridors to connect Seattle neighborhoods with frequent, high-capacity, and reliable bus service. Ridership is up 40 percent on Metro’s RapidRide lines and growing much quicker than the lines they replaced. And with each full bus replacing 60 cars of people driving alone, transit investments are the best way to reduce congestion and protect our natural environment.

2. Let's Move Seattle is affordable. Our current levy expires at the end of 2015 and the city is growing rapidly with 70,000 more people in past five years. That's why it makes sense that growth help pays for growth. The median value household will pay an additional $12 more per month—a completely reasonable investment in our city's future.

3. Let’s Move Seattle Invests in Safe Routes to Every Public School. Getting our kids to and from school safely is critically important. This is why the levy will make safety improvements including new sidewalks and better crossings at every public school in Seattle. In the first three years alone, schools with the highest proportions of low-income kids such as Bailey Gatzert, Martin Luther King Jr.,West Seattle, Dunlap, Dearborn Park, Northgate, and Roxhill to name a few will be prioritized for these important investments. The levy also changes our approach to Safe Routes by focusing on needs up to one mile away instead of just at the school.

4. Let’s Move Seattle was developed with input from thousands of Seattle residents. With over 9,000 comments and dozens of public meetings around the city the levy reflects the public’s priorities with clear investments in safety, transit and better walking. Whether an improved 45th Street crossing over I-5 for pedestrians and bikes, or congestion relief in the West Seattle corridor, the levy includes the priories of our neighborhoods.

5. Let’s Move Seattle has strong, broad support. The replacement transportation levy is unanimously supported by the mayor and city council and almost all candidates running this year in the city council district elections. It also has the support of Democrats, labor, business, environmentalists, transportation advocates, and social justice organizations. 

6. Let’s Move Seattle is transparent and accountable. The levy proposal includes strong protections that build on the successful performance of the expiring Bridging the Gap levy—SDOT met every commitment of BTG, from street repaving to bridge rehabilitations, on-budget and ahead of schedule. That levy employed a robust accountability and performance tracking system, with progress on projects monitored closely by a city council-and-Mayor-appointed oversight committee. A similar oversight body would also be appointed for the Let’s Move Seattle levy. A list of projects completed with the expiring Bridging the Gap money can be found on the city’s Bridging the Gap website.

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7. Let’s Move Seattle benefits every neighborhood. The levy invests significantly in every district and funds their highest priorities. Check out the district-based maps and specific project lists on the campaign website.

8. Let’s Move Seattle is the City’s most socially equitable transportation package to date. Organizations like OneAmerica Votes and Puget Sound Sage have endorsed the levy because it makes significant investments in bus routes to expand access to affordable transportation options, light rail access in South and North Seattle, new sidewalks in neighborhoods currently without them, and safety improvements at every public school in Seattle—prioritized by those schools in low-income neighborhoods. 

9. Let’s Move Seattle levy is an investment in workers, local jobs, and our growing economy. That is why the King County Labor Council and various other local unions are all supporting the Let’s Move Seattle levy. Combined with the City’s priority hire legislation, projects in the levy will invest in the family-wage, high-paying jobs for workers right here in our community.

10. The time to approve Let’s Move Seattle is now. Opponents don’t have a plan. They falsely claim that we should reject this proposal and wait for something better. What we know is our city is growing and that growth won’t wait. We know that if Let’s Move Seattle fails we will have fewer choices to move around and our streets will get more congested. Let’s Move Seattle is the right plan to move us forward.

The choice is clear: Let's Move Seattle invests in congestion relief, safety and maintenance; the Mayor, all of the current council members and a majority of the future city council members support the levy; investments are made in every neighborhood; it was developed with tremendous public input; it is supported by a broad group of supporters; and delaying the levy would have significant downsides. Vote YES on Proposition 1 on November 3!

Shefali Ranganathan is the deputy director at Transportation Choices Coalition.

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