Seattle City Council approved sending the $60 vehicle license fee to voters last month. Some people have opposed the measure, which would raise $204 million to improve public transportation, because this fee is regressive. Real Change agrees that this is an issue, but we still support the fee as a transportation package that Seattle needs.
Seattle's proposed vehicle license fee would invest nearly half of the $204 million raised over the next 10 years to create faster, more reliable bus service. The bottom 20 percent of income earners spend, on average, 42 percent of their income on transportation. If there is any group who could use the budget relief that fast, reliable and inexpensive public transportation provides, it's poor people.
The State has given Seattle just two options for dedicated transportation dollars: the vehicle license fee and the gas tax. Both are regressive. The latter has reached its limit. The vehicle license fee is our single option for meaningful transportation investment at the city level. On this basis alone, to oppose this measure is to let perfect get in the way of good.