Mayor Ed Murray touted Seattle’s "progressive legacy" on Tuesday, as he outlined an agenda focused on girding the city against income inequality and climate change.
In his first State of the City address, Murray emphasized his commitment to a $15 minimum wage and said he’d assemble a committee to address problems related to housing affordability. The mayor also pledged to work with Council President Tim Burgess to come up with a strategy for offering affordable universal preschool. And he noted higher rates of income inequality among some of the city's minority groups.
“We stand at a crossroads, we can follow the example of other cities and become unaffordable,” Murray said. “Or as elected leaders, we can take deliberate action to address the decline of the middle class.”
Murray played off another progressive theme as he pointed to transportation — and motor vehicles — as a major emissions source. He said he’d like to see 75 percent of city commuters walking, biking, carpooling or using transit. A new bike-share program will be unveiled later this month, he said, adding that he wants Seattle Department of Transportation to finish design work on a streetcar link between Center City and First Avenue. To fund the link, Murray said he’d look to “federal partners.”
In addition to income inequality and climate change, Murray ticked through a catalog of longstanding city challenges, some as familiar as the February rain. The city has ignored road maintenance for too long, he said. He voiced support for a transportation district initiative, backed by King County Executive Dow Constantine, which is designed to stave off Metro Transit bus cuts. He also committed to working with the council on a plan for finishing Seattle’s side of the new State Route 520 bridge.