Controversial 'Bus and Bike' Ballot Measure on Seattle's November Ballot

Seattle voters will decide on Prop. 1, a $985 million transportation levy known as Move Seattle, unanimously endorsed by the City Council and strongly backed by Mayor Ed Murray. However, the bus and bike priorities attracted a well-funded opponent.
October 27, 2015, 9am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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"A nearly one billion dollar transportation levy on the Seattle ballot this November is facing growing opposition," writes and states Ryan Takeo, KING 5 News, (view TV video here).

The levy, paid by a property tax, is called Move Seattle. It is intended to improve bus transit, biking, walking, including safe routes to schools; implement Vision Zero, and improve road and bridge maintenance. It is meant to continue the Bridging the Gap transportation levy that expires at the end of the year.

According to Mayor Ed Murray's statement after the city council unanimously voted in June to support Move Seattle, the plan entails:

Seven new bus rapid transit lines will speed commuters through our densest neighborhoods to work and school. And we must address ongoing street and bridge maintenance priorities, invest in new sidewalks and build out our bicycle master plan.

However, that doesn't please critics of the levy, also known as Prop. 1, which includes The Municipal League, The Seattle Times, and The League of Women Voters.

Amanda Clark, president of The League of Women Voters of Seattle/King County, "says the levy lacks specificity and oversight, with some of the projects as mere suggestions with no promise of follow-through."

Opponents are well-funded thanks to Faye Garneau, an octogenarian property owner who has contributed $150,755, amounting to 92 percent of the opposition's war chest, writes Seattle Times staff reporter, Bob Young. 

“She’s a major property owner, hates taxes and has a pretty strong anti-government philosophy she has expressed over the 12 years I’ve known her,” said City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, chair of the council’s Transportation Committee.

She's also outspoken when it comes to buses and bikes.

She opposes the levy, she said, because of its burdensome taxes for basic government services and misguided priorities promoting buses and bikes at the expense of cars.

“I’m trying to do what’s right. I’m blessed that I have finances enough to do something about it,” Garneau said. “I’m only against buses when they take away parking from small businesses.”

Supporters of the $930 million spending proposal have raised $222,682, most by "a mix of 41 business, labor and advocacy-group donors," adds Young.

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Published on Monday, October 26, 2015 in King 5 News
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