Earlier this week, The Seattle Times reported that the Move Seattle levy, a $930 million transportation levy originally passed in 2015, is “falling behind on project promises.” When the levy was initially approved, it was intended to add bike lanes and bus lanes, repave roads, and complete other transportation projects in Seattle. However, just a few years after being passed, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is starting to cutback on a number of the promises that were included in the levy.
According to The Seattle Times, “the areas short on money include: building new protected bike lanes, repairing damaged sidewalks and building new ones, building curb ramps at intersections, repaving arterial streets and creating seven new RapidRide bus routes.”
It is clear that SDOT misled voters when the levy was voted on in 2015. For example, voters were originally told that bike lanes would cost $860,000 per mile. This original cost has been way off the mark, as one particular section of bike lane has cost an astounding $13 million per mile, and another has cost $12 million per mile. These price differences clearly demonstrate a lack of honesty from SDOT. The leader of the organization, Goran Sparrman, acknowledged their error when he said: “Some of those dollar amounts estimated for what projects would cost were clearly insufficient, even at the time.”
Another transportation package not living up to original promises should not surprise any voters in the area. Seattle and the rest of the Puget Sound area have seemed to build a pattern of delivering transportation projects at a much higher cost and in a much longer time than was originally stated. The “Bertha” tunneling project, Sound Transit, and others have always been delayed and over budget. When will groups such as SDOT, Sound Transit, and others actually start solving transportation challenges and work in the interest of voters?