The six-year Seattle Transportation Benefit District (STBD) funds essential transit service and aids in equitable COVID-19 recovery
Seattle (November 3, 2020) - Tonight, with 76% of votes tallied, the overwhelming majority of Seattleites voted to pass Proposition 1 and ensure the critical elements of Seattle’s transit network are maintained. The Seattle Transportation Benefit District maintains equitable access to transit and the City’s ability to scale up service as Seattle’s transit ridership recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Seattle Transportation Benefit District will:
· Provide safe, efficient, and frequent transit for more Seattleites, particularly essential workers fighting against this global pandemic.
· Preserve a robust, connected transit system in Seattle that centers equity.
· Make investments that address acute mobility needs in areas like West Seattle.
· Invest in ORCA Opportunity for students and Low-Income Access programs for our vulnerable neighbors.
· These investments are made possible by maintaining the original 0.1 percent sales tax approved by voters in 2014 and slightly increasing it to 0.15%, providing needed resources for transportation investments and ensuring continuity of critical services despite financial restrictions caused by I-976 and COVID-19.
“The Seattle Transportation Benefit District is a critical tool for providing equitable access to transit in our City. Seattle voters once again stepped up to support transit and transportation, especially to ensure reliable transit for essential workers during this pandemic. Our residents are the reason Seattle can claim one of the best transit networks in the nation,” said Mayor Durkan. “Seattle has had back to back wins for transportation with the Supreme Court overturning I-976 and the passage of STBD. We can build back from the pandemic better than we started and provide an important surge of investments to the West Seattle and Duwamish Valley neighborhoods as they deal with the impacts of the bridge closure.”
“So far in the vote count, we are seeing strong support for safe, reliable transit,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “Our transit network connects us to work and school and everything this region has to offer. The renewal of the Seattle Transportation Benefit District will provide funds to keep us moving now and during the recovery—with special attention given to our essential workers, underserved areas and lower-income communities, and helping our community get through the West Seattle Bridge closure.”
“Winning this election is more than just a victory for the transit that Seattle loves -- choosing to fund robust bus service is a bold affirmation we are upbeat about a future when everyone gets back to work, our economy gets moving again, and we make real progress on the climate crisis,” said Seattle Councilmember Alex Pedersen who, despite the pandemic, led passage of the transit measure through the Seattle City Council as Chair of the Transportation Committee for voters to decide.
“King County voters recognize that people need fast, frequent and reliable transit that seamlessly connects them to employment, education, community and more,” King County Council Chair Claudia Balducci said. “Tonight’s vote by Seattle voters affirms that they get it: better transit service equals opportunity. And that’s why in the coming years I look forward to building on tonight’s momentum to grow our transit network countywide.”
"I am grateful that Seattle voters overwhelmingly chose to continue enhanced local investment in Metro transit service,” King County Councilmember Dembowski, Chair of the County Councils Mobility & Environment Committee. “As we open more light rail capacity next year, I will work to ensure that we protect our frequent, all-day network to make transit convenient and reliable. These funds are essential to that vision and are more important than ever during these challenging times."
“Seattle voters support of Proposition 1 to fund transit coupled with the Supreme Court’s recent decision to reject I-976 preserves the important work we’ve done together to create a robust, connected transit system. Over the last six years, Seattle has been a national leader in transit ridership. We built it and people came,” said Sam Zimbabwe, Seattle Transportation Department Director. “That has not stopped, even in the midst of a global pandemic. One in three essential workers rely on transit to get to their job. Our bus service is central to our efforts to build a more livable and accessible city, and to position us for a strong, inclusive recovery. Today, voters chose to keep this momentum going, keeping a frequent transit system in place, and reducing costs for low-income riders. We look forward to working with our partners at King County Metro and providing safe, efficient, and frequent transit for working people—including essential workers while building a more inclusive city.”
“King County Metro thanks voters in Seattle for standing up for safe, equitable, and sustainable transit,” said King County Metro Interim General Manager Terry White. “We’re excited to renew the highly successful Seattle Transportation Benefit District partnership. Working with the City of Seattle, this funding will help provide more frequent service to more customers and locations, and for longer hours as we see a move away from traditional commuting times. We’re prioritizing service to communities of color, customers with lower incomes, and essential workers, while continuing to reduce congestion and pollution by providing an alternative to single-occupancy vehicles.”
The STBD increases the current 0.1% sales tax to 0.15% (the equivalent of 15 cents on a $100 purchase). Revenue collection starts April 2021. Visit for more information on the new STBD.SDOT’s website for more information on the new STBD.