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Seattle Seeks Higher Taxes for Mass Transit

by Scott Donald, Irvine, September 2016

 

The Sound Transit 3 Plan (ST3) on the November ballot asks voters in the Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority District to approve a plan to extend light rail to 37 new areas. If approved, it will raise property taxes, sales taxes, and car tab taxes.

 

The Expansion Plan

 

The ST3 Plan adds 62 new miles of light rail for a regional system reaching 116 miles. The district includes the most populated areas of King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties.

 

The plan improves access to stations for bicyclists, pedestrians, drivers, and pick-up and drop-off services, and also expands parking at stations.

 

ST3 Funding

 

The estimated cost to implement ST3 is $53.8 billion. More than half of the project ($27.7 billion) would be financed with new local taxes.

 

ST3 would raise taxes by the following amounts:

 

  • Property tax increase of 25 cents for each $1,000 of assessed valuation

  • Sales tax increase of 0.5%

  • License tabs (MVET) increase of 0.8%

Other funding sources include:

 

  • Federal grants: $4.7 billion

  • Existing Sound Transit taxes: $8.6 billion

  • Fares and other revenues: $1.5 billion

  • Bond proceeds: $11 billion

  • Interest earnings: $.33 billion

For more information about the light rail plan, visit the ST3 website.