Seattle/King County climate news

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Robin Briggs

Nov 22, 2021, 10:07:11 PM11/22/21
to Seattle Climate News

Once again, lots has been happening recently. The Seattle Budget takes up a lot of space in this report, but don't neglect to read down through the King County news -- they've been taking some big steps on climate recently.


Seattle City Council passed the 2022 budget. All the climate spending in the original budget was maintained, and actually increased slightly in the course of budget deliberations, although revenue projections came in lower than expected. The budget contains these climate-related items among many others:

  • $16.4M (up from $14M in the Mayor's draft) for Green New Deal

  • $4.1M for the Duwamish Valley Action Plan, including $1M for pilot program to electrify heavy duty vehicles

  • $6.5M held in reserve for the Green New Deal Oversight Board recommendations

  • $1.7M for conversions from oil-heated to efficient electric heat

  • additional funding to assess and mitigate vehicle emissions, as well as workforce investments

  • $3.8M will fund ongoing work in OSE on climate justice, buildings and energy, and transportation electrification

  • $3.2M for municipal fleet electrification

  • $2.9M from REET for Municipal Energy Efficiency Program for improvements to City-owned buildings

  • Seattle City Light has $9.7M for Transportation Electrification, $2.8M for Grid Modernization, $5.5 for "Create Our Energy Future" grid infrastructure program.

  • The commercial parking tax was raised to 14.5%, with the funds raised to go to bridge maintenance and Vision Zero projects. 

  • The Central City Connector streetcar restart planning study was funded, and $2.4M was set aside for planning relating to Sound Transit's West Seattle to Ballard project.

The budget notes that JumpStart funds were used to backfill the budget where city revenues were off, but Federal relief funds were used to fill the gap, and notes "Sustaining these levels of funding going forward will be a challenge because the CLFR resources will not be available in 2023 and beyond. Further work will be needed by the Council and perhaps the next Mayor to fully reconcile all the City’s competing policy demands. "

Seattle released a Sidewalk Audit, which had been commissioned by City Council. 46% of Seattle sidewalks are in fair to very poor condition. The report makes three main recommendations:

  • work with the City Attorney’s Office and others to seek changes in state law and local ordinances that would allow a broader range of enforcement options for private property owner sidewalk repair

  • explore the use of a sidewalk repair ordinance that requires sidewalk repair at the time a property is sold

  • implement recommendations from the Seattle City Council requested report: Policy Recommendations for Sidewalk Repair.

King County

The County Council passed the CPACER (Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy and Resiliency) Program. The CPACER program allows owners of commercial buildings to borrow money for improving the buildings for energy efficiency, renewable energy, seismic retrofit, water conservation, and resiliency.  The loans are secured by a lien on the property that is held by the county; the loan is part of the property, it transfers with the property, and is not a personal debt obligation of the owner. This is a way to get funding for projects that may take a long time to pay off, in an economy where owners may only be holding property for a few years. It applies to agricultural, commercial, and industrial properties and of multifamily residential properties with five or more dwelling units. 37 other states have similar programs. The program passed with an amendment (adopted unanimously) that the program cannot be used to purchase fossil fuel based equipment. The Executive has signed.

Updates to the Metro Strategic Plan, Metro Service Guidelines and Metro Connects (long term Metro plan) passed out of committee, with an amendment to develop a funding plan.


WSDOT released a draft 2022-2025 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program, and they are soliciting public feedback on it from now until Dec. 15.

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