Motorists Vote 2020: Seattle sales tax (instead of car tab fees) for bus service headed to November ballot

Seattle voters will be asked to approve a sales tax increase to fund bus service, as the coronavirus pandemic creates intense pressures on transit budgets and forces cutbacks.

The Seattle City Council Monday voted to send a measure to the November ballot for a .15% sales tax to renew a city tax known as the Seattle Transportation Benefit District. If passed by voters, it would replace an existing .1% sales tax and $60 car-tab fee, meaning taxpayers would see a cut to their car tabs and increase in sales tax next year.

The six-year measure would raise about $42 million a year for Metro bus service, transit passes for students and people with low incomes and “emergent needs” related to the pandemic and the closure of the West Seattle Bridge. That’s less than the $56 million a year raised last year under the current tax.