Seattle-area tech titans like Microsoft, Amazon, and Expedia want to see the region’s transportation infrastructure double over the next 25 years. It appears their wish will come true.
The most recent figures have the $54 billion Sound Transit 3 (ST3) ballot measure passing with more than 55 percent of the vote. The initiative would add 62 new miles of light rail linking Tacoma, Federal Way, Redmond, Kirkland, Issaquah, Seattle’s Ballard and West Seattle neighborhoods, and Everett. ST3 will also expand existing bus and train service and add parking.
The map below shows the proposed transit additions.
Big tech companies, which are actively reshaping Seattle’s DNA through aggressive hiring and growth, helped fund the ST3 campaign. Microsoft donated $300,000, Amazon $110,000, Expedia $150,000, and Bill Gates $100,000, according to data from Washington’s Public Disclosure Commission.
Expedia and Amazon, in particular, are actively transforming Seattle in a number of ways.
In three years, Expedia will move 3,500 employees from its current headquarters in Bellevue, Wash. to a massive new campus on Seattle’s waterfront. The relocation plan invoked the ire of longtime Seattleites concerned about the region’s growing traffic problems.
It’s the same reason Amazon, headquartered in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood, is often the subject of scorn. The e-commerce giant is gobbling up office space and adding employees at a breakneck pace, contributing to a rapidly growing population in Seattle.
Uber — which is headquartered in San Francisco but has a big presence in Seattle — publically endorsed ST3 in an unusual move for the transportation giant.
These companies, and the tech industry at large, have a lot to gain from a more mobile Seattle — both in terms of employee comfort and brand reputation.
For better or worse, their financial contributions to ST3 are just one of the many ways they will reshape Seattle.