In November, voters in the Seattle metro area approved a $54 billion ballot measure to fund the expansion of the region’s public mass transit system. The estimated average annual increase of $169 per taxpayer, for at least the next 30 years, is supposed to pay for 62 new miles of light rail, 37 new light-rail stations, and extended commuter bus and train lines. The plan builds on and extends some existing taxes that paid for earlier transit system expansions. For some, it’s a massive, expensive waste of money that won’t do anything to reduce the region’s traffic problems. For others, it’s a gesture of love and regional unity, and new connections to economic and cultural opportunities. For the Seattle Office of Housing, it’s an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. “We’re looking at not just the cost of the rent and how to make it affordable for low-income households but also trying to reduce the second-highest cost for households, which is transportation,” says Todd Burley, spokesperson for the Seattle Office of Housing.
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