Seattle mayor continues to explore congestion pricing in proposed budget | Curbed Seattle

Mayor Jenny Durkan released her proposed 2019-2020 budget on Monday, and there are a lot of headlines there on homelessness spending (more permanent funding, but not a huge increase in overall funding), policing (an additional 40 officers), and job cuts (150 fewer jobs across departments). But Durkan also signaled a continued commitment to an idea she first floated during her campaign: congestion pricing, or targeted tolls to reduce car traffic on city streets.

Durkan did not specifically mention the proposal in her speech detailing the budget on Monday. If implemented, Seattle could be the first United States city to have such a program.

Back in April, Durkan announced a slate of action items that included congestion pricing to help the city combat climate change. At the time, the tolling plan—“improving mobility through pricing”—was vague: The document says the plan will combine pricing to drive on certain streets with expanded investment in “transit and electrification in underserved communities.”

As part of the package, Durkan said Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) would conduct a study to look into what this could look like in Seattle, including possible pricing plans, and examine how a system would affect congestion from State Route 99 tunnel tolling, a growing population, ride-hailing, and freight vehicles.

In the budget, the mayor’s office acknowledges that SDOT has already “started work to assess the potential benefits of establishing a congestion pricing program” and adds $1 million to the budget to “support the second phase of this work.”

“Congestion pricing can be an effective strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving mobility,” reads the budget section.

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Seattle mayor continues to explore congestion pricing in proposed budget – Curbed Seattle.