In 2006, Seattle voters passed a nine-year, $365 million, transportation levy for maintenance and improvements known as Bridging the Gap (BTG). The levy is complemented by a commercial parking tax. The BTG levy funds maintenance programs for paving; new sidewalk development and repairs; repair, rehabilitation and seismic upgrades to Seattle’s bridges; tree pruning and planting; transit enhancements; and other much needed maintenance work. Funding also supports projects that develop and implement the Bicycle, Pedestrian and Transit Master Plans, support development of the Safe Routes to School Program and help neighborhoods get larger projects built through the Neighborhood Street Fund large project program.
The BTG levy as approved by voters stipulated that certain percentages of the levy revenues be spent on different categories of projects over the nine year program:
- Neighborhood Street Fund – first $1.5 million annually
- Maintenance Programs – no less than 67%
- Pedestrian/Bike/Safety Programs – no less than 18%
- Transit & Major Projects – no more than 15%
Back in 2007, as BTG got underway, some pretty ambitious goals were set. Some of the goals included: prune 25,000 street trees; repave 200 lane-miles of arterial streets; rehabilitate or replace 3-5 bridges and seismically retrofit 5 additional bridges; build 117 blocks of new sidewalks; restripe 5,000 crosswalks; create “safe routes to schools” near 30 elementary schools; repair 144 blocks of sidewalks; enhance transit and safety improvements on three key transit corridors; and, secure up to 44,000 hours of new Metro Transit service. SDOT is well on its way to delivering and meeting these goals and expects to exceed many of them.
BTG has been a critical funding piece for the department and SDOT takes great pride in not only meeting the goals of the levy, but also working closely with the BTG Levy Oversight Committee to keep them updated on the progress of the levy. When issues arise, the committee’s guidance is sought to determine if changes need to be made. The committee meets quarterly and their next meeting is April 23, 6-8 p.m., in the Boards and Commissions Room at City Hall. Their meetings are open to the public and they provide time at the beginning of each meeting for public comment.
If you would like additional information on BTG please visit the webpage.