Tuesday, January 15, 2008

What is a Transportation Benefit District (TBD)?

Following the failure of Proposition 1, regional leaders are reviewing their options for funding badly needed transportation improvements. Discussions with RAMP participatns both in and out of the monthly meetings suggest that RTID is dead as the funding vehicle of choice, and the group consensus may be forming around a transportation benefit district as its most likely successor.

A transportation benefit district (TBD) is an independent taxing district created solely to acquire, construct, improve, provide and fund transportaiton improvements within a defined area. That area can be defined with much more flexibility than RTID conferred--it can encompass a broad array of counties, cities, and port or transit districts depending upon each jurisdiction's willingness to enter an interlocal agreement.

A TBD also has access to a variety of funding mechanisms. Two of these--setting an annual vehicle fee and levying transportation impact fees--do not require voer approval, although they are subject to toher condidions. TBDs can also ask voters to approve several new revenue sources, including increased property taxes, sales tax, annual vehicle fees and tolls.