The City of Seattle lied to taxpayers, according to a KIRO 7 investigation. In 2006, the city promised to “reduce the maintenance backlog, pave 360 miles, replace and rehab bridges, and make other improvements” via the Bridging the Gap levy.
Voters approved a $365 million property tax levy, which was part of a larger $544 million project. The rest of the funds would be pulled from a commercial parking tax and an employee hours tax (later repealed in 2010).
After paving 311 miles, Seattle Department of Transportation Director Scott Kubly claimed the city did not have enough money to follow through on the intended 360 miles due to the repealed tax. Only, that’s not true.
The city actually collected more money than it expected. Officials just chose not to do what they promised.
By the end of 2015, the city actually collected $25 million more than projected, for a grand total of $569 million. When pressed by KIRO 7, SDOT admitted that a lack of funds was not an issue. It merely prioritized other projects over keeping its promise to voters.
Now, the city is asking voters to approve another initiative, Move Seattle, that promises to finish paving many of the projects listed in Bridging the Gap. This time around, the city promises to pave up to 180 miles—not that voters can have any degree of faith officials will do what they say.
Making matters worse, Seattle roads have been in decline despite the 2006 levy. In 2005, about 70 percent of Seattle roads were in fair or better condition. But, in 2013, 64 percent of roads were in fair or better condition.
Ladies and gentlemen, the City of Seattle at work.