Earlier this month Seattle City Council approved Fare Share, a plan that includes a new tax on Uber and Lyft rides as part of the City’s 2020 budget. Originally pitched by Mayor Jenny Durkan, the new 57-cent tax will be used to fund affordable housing, the delayed downtown streetcar, and additional support for drivers that work for the rideshare apps. Seattle currently charges 24 cents per ride. After lowering the current fee by 6 cents, the new tax will bring the fee total to 75 cents per ride.
The tax is an alternative to a more widespread tolling scheme to address congestion on downtown streets. There was previous discussion of congestion pricing that would require all drivers downtown to pay a toll.
Fare Share is projected to raise about $25 million per year. Plans for the funding over the next six years include:
- About $52 million toward affordable housing;
- $56 million toward the Center City Connector, bus service, light rail tunnels to West Seattle and Ballard, or a transportation-voucher program for seniors and people with limited mobility or low incomes;
- $3.5 million per year to fund a center where Uber and Lyft drivers could seek help with deactivations from the apps.