FAQs About
Yes for Transit,
City of Seattle Proposition 1

 

Yes for Transit - Bus Full

Why do we need Seattle Prop. 1?

Seattleites rely on transit. Pre-COVID nearly half of our commute trips to downtown happened on transit. Our bus system keeps Seattleites connected so they can get to and from work, keep appointments, or access services. Seattle Proposition 1, on the November ballot, renews and modifies an expiring measure in order to provide $39 million annually over six years for critical transit investments like essential bus service, creating affordability for riders, addressing the West Seattle transportation crisis head on, and ensuring our transit system is efficient and reliable.

Do we still need transit service if people are working from home?

While thousands of people are working from home during the pandemic, 1 out of 3 essential workers in Seattle depends on public transportation. We must ensure bus service remains open, safe, and dependable for the essential workers we all count on.

When our economy reopens, robust transit will be key to a strong economic recovery by ensuring people can get back to work and reach essential services. Voting yes to approve Seattle Prop. 1 means we will be ready when the COVID shelter-at-home order ends and an exponential increase in commutes and trips returns. That’s why business groups like Downtown Seattle Association and the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce endorse our campaign.

What is included in Seattle Proposition 1?

Seattle Prop. 1 funds 150,000 bus service hours, continued investments in improving the frequent transit network such as additional bus lanes, and features key affordability programs for essential workers, students, seniors, and people with low-incomes or disabilities so all have equal access to transportation.

What about Metro cutting service because ridership is down?

While there is no doubt Metro is facing tough decisions due to COVID-19 related declines in transit ridership, Seattle cannot walk away from its commitment to transit. Failing to renew Seattle Prop. 1 will result in even further, more devastating cuts for the people who rely on transit the most. Transit is a lifeline – especially for those who are unable to drive due to physical or financial reasons.

Is this a new tax? How much will this cost?

This isn’t a new tax, it is a renewal and modification of an existing, expiring measure first passed in 2014. This is a relatively small, 0.015% sales tax (or 15 cents for every $100 in purchases) that will cost the average Seattle household $27 per year. This is a smaller tax than the original measure (0.01% sales tax and $60 car tab fee), and, compared to other transportation options, less than the cost of some Uber trips.

Why is Seattle Prop. 1 funded using only a sales tax?

Local funding options for transit are set by the state law that gives cities and counties the authority to create what’s known as a Transportation Benefit District. After losing the ability to use car tab fees for revenue due to Tim Eyman’s I-976 measure passing last year, the only functional tool the Seattle City Council had available when crafting this year’s renewal of the Seattle Transportation Benefit District was the sales tax. Working on reform of the local options, to move away from sources that are regressive, remains a top priority for transit advocates

Why isn’t Seattle Prop. 1 being proposed across King County?

After the original proposal for a county-wide measure on roads and transit failed in early 2014, the City proposed the first version of Seattle Prop. 1 which passed with over 62% support from Seattle voters.

King County planned to utilize the Transportation Benefit District authority earlier this year, but was unfortunately derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic due to public meeting restrictions and the need to focus on the Public Health Department. This left the City to once again to step up and renew Seattle Prop. 1 for another six years this fall.

Getting to county-wide transit funding is still the goal of our local elected officials. The King County Council and Executive Constantine sent a joint letter to the City of Seattle affirming their commitment to re-regionalizing at the first opportunity. The City issued a similar statement when the measure was placed on the ballot.

How do I know my tax dollars are spent wisely?

Pre-COVID, Seattle had the highest transit ridership growth in the nation due in large part to Seattle Prop. 1. Additionally, the spending and services provided by this measure are reviewed each year by the Seattle Transit Advisory Board, an independent citizen oversight committee.

How does Seattle Prop. 1 help with the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge closure and surrounding congestion?

Residents in West Seattle and surrounding neighborhoods are facing congestion that will only get worse when we reopen after COVID-19. This measure will increase bus service over the Lower Bridge to and from West Seattle and in surrounding neighborhoods and help alleviate increased congestion and pollution to keep residents connected and our air clean.

Is Metro safe to ride?

Yes, Metro is safe to ride, with the overwhelming majority of research indicating that public transportation is not a spreader or conduit for COVID-19. King County Metro is taking enormous precautions by having mask dispensers on all major routes, requiring passengers to wear masks, blocking off seats for additional passenger spacing, smaller passenger capacity limits on all buses (between 12 and 18 people depending on the size of the bus), and deploying back-up buses to help maintain social distancing..

What does the State Supreme Court ruling overturning I-976 mean for this measure?

Though desperately needed, this decision does not automatically reinstate transit funding from car tabs, and the Seattle City Council will need to have a transparent, open, and public conversation about what comes next. Yes for Transit is focused on making sure that the tens of thousands of essential workers, low-income people, elderly, disabled, and young people who ride transit in Seattle every day can count on a system that works for them. Passing Seattle Prop. 1 is an important way to keep the city on track and get people where they need to go.

VOTE YES for transit to approve Seattle Prop. 1!