The initiative to save Metro bus service in Seattle by raising property taxes announced three new endorsements this morning, while Mayor Ed Murray explained in greater detail his opposition to the idea.
As Keep Seattle Moving - the grassroots organization currently collecting signatures to get Initiative 118 on the November ballot - announced this morning, the Sierra Club, the Transit Riders Union and Seattle Subway have all officially endorsed the recently announced effort, which aims to preserve Metro bus service in Seattle via a tax hike that would raise property taxes by $.22 per $1,000 of assessed property value. The group estimates that such a hike - if approved by voters - would generate $30 million per year for the next six years and cost the average Seattle household an extra $60 a year. Signatures are currently being gathered to place I-118 on the ballot.
“Transit Riders Union supports I-118 because we need progressive action immediately,” explains Beau Morton, a spokesperson for said union. “We’ve waited for the state, we’ve tried at the county, and the city can’t afford to wait any longer and lose the transit service that we need now.”
“The Keep Seattle Moving initiative preserves bus service, ensures that Seattle residents continue to have affordable and efficient ways to travel, and prevents increased carbon emissions resulting from planned bus cuts. We need to act quickly to ensure students, seniors, workers, people with disabilities and the environmentally conscious continue to have a low-impact and affordable way to get around our city. We urge a yes vote on Initiative 118 to reduce carbon emissions and contribute to thriving, walkable neighborhoods,” adds Sierra Club Cascade Chapter chair Dan Schwartz.
Meanwhile, Mayor Ed Murray - who, as we reported yesterday, has misgivings about asking voters for another property tax hike (with universal pre-k and a parks district also on the docket) - seems to be going on the offensive. While the mayor’s office has said he’ll announce his own plan to save Metro sometime next week, in an interview with The Stranger this morning Murray explained some of his reasoning for pushing against the Keep Seattle Moving plan, saying, “I will fight the use of property tax.” You can (and probably should) read The Stranger’s entire interview, by Eli Sanders and Ansel Herz, here.
Stay tuned ...