Transportation Benefit District reauthorized, street projects approved: 11.20.17 Council recap

I hope everyone enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving! Many thanks to everyone who helped out with the various free Thanksgiving dinners around Spokane. Last year I served at the UGM dinner at the Convention Center and it was a very special experience. I met some wonderful people.

I’m finally posting about the Council meeting on Monday night after taking a break from City Hall for a few days. On Monday, Nov. 20th, Council approved (6-1, Fagan no) several actions related to our Transportation Benefit District(TBD). We renewed the TBD we have for another 7 years. We approved continuing the $20 car tabs to fund residential street improvements/maintenance, and we approved the City Council being the official board of the TBD.

Back in 2010, I was part of a Council majority that approved establishing a TBD for the City after it became clear that a regional TBD was not in the cards. The State allows cities, counties or multiple jurisdictions to create TBDs to fund transportation improvements. We are allowed to fund TBDs with a variety of funding mechanisms including property tax, sales tax and car tab fees. Currently, a TBD Board can choose to impose up to $40 car tab fee. Other taxes or anything higher than $40 has to go to a public vote.

I am very pleased with the amount of street maintenance work we have accomplished at the City using these car tab fees (we collect approx. $2.2M/year). You can visit our TBD page to review most of the work accomplished to date (I believe they will be updating it to capture the latest projects completed very soon). I helped create the Citizens Transportation Advisory Board (CTAB) that oversees the project selection and ensures the dollars are spent wisely and to the benefit of all areas of the City. I want to thank all the volunteers who have served on this Board over the years. They work hard for all of us!