Seattle voters OK tax increase for transportation

| Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A proposal to increase taxes in Seattle to fund transportation work was approved a week ago. Voters authorized a nine-year, $365 million tax increase to pay for various transportation projects in the city.

The package, which received 53 percent approval from voters, will be paid mostly through higher property taxes. New taxes on commercial parking lots and an employer tax also would be tapped for funding.

Supporters said the levy was needed to catch up on a $500 million backlog in transportation construction and repairs. The money will be earmarked for road, bridge and sidewalk repairs, as well as transit, bike path and safety improvements.

Opponents of Proposition 1 said government should pay for such things with existing taxes, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported. Others said the plan contributed too much money to non-essential projects, such as planting trees.

On the heels of the proposition's passage, regional officials said they plan to ask voters to increase revenues for transportation next fall. Voters in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties would be asked to decide whether to increase their vehicle fees and sales tax for major highway and transit expansions.

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