Transportation Benefit Fund
When did the Bainbridge Island Transportation Benefit District (TBD) become the Transportation Benefit Fund (TBF)?
On December 31, 2015, the Bainbridge Island Transportation Benefit District (TBD) was dissolved and assumed by the City of Bainbridge Island as a fund of the City. For additional detail on this transaction see the accompanying notes to this financial statement (PDF) and Ordinance No. 2015-31 (PDF).
What is the Bainbridge Island Transportation Benefit District (TBD)?
In 1987, the WA State Legislature created Transportation Benefit Districts (TBDs) as one way for local governments to raise money to pay for transportation improvements (Chapter 36.73). In 2005 and 2007, the Legislature amended the TBD bill to expand what the funds can be used for and expand the authority of cities to raise revenue. The expansion included the ability of a city to authorize a $20 annual vehicle license fee (VLF) with up to an additional $80 of VLF if approved by voters within the district.
The WA State Legislature provided local governments with these tools because (a) inflation can erode the local share of gas tax, and (b) the elimination of other traditional sources of funding for local transportation needs due to the passage of a series of statewide ballot initiatives over the last 12 years.
When and how did the City Council establish a TBD?
The Bainbridge Island City Council approved Ordinance No. 2012-14 on August, 22, 2012. The ordinance created a new chapter in the Bainbridge Island Municipal Code: Chapter 12.29, Transportation Benefit District (now repealed). The new Code chapter established the TBD's governing board, purpose and authority of the district, use of funds, and dissolution of the district.
How much is the current Vehicle License Fee (VLF)?
The current vehicle license fee for Bainbridge Islanders is $40.
It is important to understand the vehicle license fee is only one part of a resident's annual vehicle tab fees. There are other registration costs, in addition to filing and service fees.
How much money does the City receive through the TBF, and how are those funds used?
For Bainbridge Island, the fees provide roughly $600,000 per year. Of that, the fees provide $400,000 for annual pavement repairs (e.g., asphalt repairs, chip sealing) and $200,000 per year in funding for traffic measures, climate change mitigation projects, and marketing of Kitsap Transit's BI Ride service.
In 2019, the Council approved a $10 vehicle tab fee increase and adopted Resolution No. 2019-06 to specify that the additional revenue would be used to support traffic calming measures, climate change mitigation projects, and marketing of Kitsap Transit's BI Ride service.
The traffic calming measures, climate change mitigation projects, and marketing of the BI Ride service were on hold for most of 2020 due to a legal challenge to the 2019 voter-approved Initiative 976. Initiative 976 meant to repeal or lower certain vehicle registration fees and taxes, and restrict the use of the funds raised. In October 2020, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled Initiative 976 unconstitutional allowing the City to continue collecting vehicle tab fees.
What types of projects has the TBF previously supported?
Since 2014, the City has used, on average, $400,000 of TBF funds annually to support maintenance of the City's 140-mile road network (which is approximately 60% of the total spending for the City's annual road maintenance program). The annual road maintenance includes asphalt patching, crack and chip sealing, and large pavement replacement projects. The TBF was also used to acquire rights of way for sidewalks and bicycle improvements. See the table below for a list of Annual Roads projects supported with the TBD funds.
Annual Road projects supported with TBD Funds
|2014||Right of Way Acquisition|
|2014||Streets Fund for Annual Roads Preservation & Asphalt Repair|
|2015||Streets Fund for Annual Roads Preservation & Asphalt Repair|
|2017||Streets Fund for Annual Roads Preservation & Road Striping|
|2018||Streets Fund for Annual Roads Preservation & Road Striping|
|2019||Streets Fund for Annual Roads Preservation & Road Striping|