Mercer Island Transportation Benefit District
What is a Transportation Benefit District (TBD)?
A TBD is a quasi-municipal corporation and independent taxing district created for the sole purpose of acquiring, constructing, improving, providing, and funding transportation improvements within the district. It is an independent taxing authority.
In 1987, the State Legislature created Transportation Benefit Districts (TBD) as an option for local governments to fund transportation improvements. Since 2005, the legislature has amended the TBD statute to expand its uses and revenue authority. In 2015, the legislature amended the TBD statute to increase the amount of vehicle license fees that may be imposed without a public vote. The legislature also authorized cities or counties with the same boundaries of the TBD to assume control of the TBD Click here to read the relevant Washington State Code.
On October 20, 2014, the Mercer Island City Council adopted Ordinance No. 14C-11, establishing the Mercer Island Transportation Benefit District (MI TBD). On December 7, 2015, the Mercer Island City Council adopted Ordinance No. 15C-24, assuming control of the MI TBD and abolishing its separate governing body.
The Mercer Island TBD
The City Council started discussing creating a TBD during their Transportation Improvement Planning (TIP) process in 2012. The City’s TIP includes a residential street preservation program, arterial street improvements, pedestrian and bicycle facilities (including 'safe routes to school' improvements and roadside shoulder development), and other transportation projects.
At the May 19, 2014 meeting, the Council reviewed the 2015-2020 TIP, and asked staff to research a TBD in the TIP for planning purposes starting in 2015. At the June 16, 2014 meeting, the Council approved a TIP, which forecasts revenue from a TBD starting in 2015.
The Mercer Island City Council held a study session at the August 4, 2014 Regular Meeting to discuss creating a Transportation Benefit District (TBD). At the October 6, 2014 Council meeting, staff brought forth a forth an ordinance to establish a TBD to focus on the City’s six-year TIP. The Council adopted the ordinance at the October 20, 2014 Council meeting.
On November 17, 2014, the MI TBD Board (the City Council) adopted Ordinance No. 1 to authorize a new and renewing vehicle license fee of $20 to meet the City’s responsibility for funding the preservation and maintenance of the City’s transportation infrastructure, consistent with chapter 36.73 RCW, to protect the City’s long-term investments in that infrastructure, to reduce the risk of transportation facility failures and improve safety, to continue optimal performance of the infrastructure over time, and to avoid more expensive infrastructure replacements in the future.
The state Department of Licensing began collecting the vehicle license fee on June 1, 2015. The MI TBD collected $204,167 in revenue in 2015. MI TBD funds were dedicated to fund transit shuttle services and arterial street maintenance projects. The MI TBD Annual Report can be found here.
The agendas and minutes for the MI TBD Board meetings can be found here.
Where else is this happening?
Many communities across Puget Sound and the entire State use this funding tool. View the latest list here at the State Dept of Licensing website.