Seattle Public Utility District (SPU) has been in private hands since the 1970s, but the public utility has never been a profit-making enterprise.
The only public entity that could potentially benefit from such a transformation was the city’s largest citywide utility, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT).
For decades, SDOT operated its fleet of buses and trucks under the authority of the Seattle Municipal Utility District, or SPU.
By 1990, SDOTS had been sold to the private company Trolleybuses for a staggering $1.5 billion.
Since then, SDOs have been privatized in two ways.
First, in the early 2000s, SDO board members were appointed by the SPU’s leadership, and since then, the SPOs have gone into private hands.
Second, in January 2017, the city and SPOs announced the construction of a public utility “bond” to be issued by the Seattle City Council.
As of June 30, 2018, the bond is slated to be worth more than $200 million.
What does this mean for Seattle’s transit system?
Since this is a private investment, the transit system’s ridership has continued to grow.
By 2020, the total number of trips on Seattle’s public transit system will surpass 4.6 million.
SDOT will spend $2.3 billion to build a new bus line, which will replace the existing route.
In 2018, SDOC will provide another $1 billion to extend the transit line.
The next transit line in the works will extend the Green Line and add additional bus stops.
This project is expected to be completed by 2020.
However, as of 2018, there are a total of five bus stops in the line, and the total capacity of buses is still not enough to meet demand.
By 2030, the new transit line is expected add more than 12 new stops to the system.
How will this affect our transportation system?
The transit system has been growing at a rapid pace over the last decade, but it is still a relatively new service.
SDO and SDOT are currently providing limited service to the city.
The current transit system is only a third of the way there, and SDO plans to expand service on the Green, Blue, and Orange lines by 2020, which is a step toward providing service to all residents.
What are the implications for our communities?
If you live in Seattle, you probably don’t know much about the SDOs.
There is no public website for the agency, and it’s not even clear what services it provides to people living in the region.
But one thing you can do is follow the SPO’s Twitter account.
On that account, there is an ongoing debate about how the city should operate its transit system.
Supporters of privatization argue that the city shouldn’t be using taxpayer money to build an operating system that will be a private company.
But supporters of public ownership argue that SDOs should not be run by private companies, because the city needs public transit service to keep our city safe.
For more information, see Seattle Transit Blog.