What is the East Wenatchee Transportation Benefit District?
In 1987, the State Legislature created Transportation Benefit Districts (TBDs) as an option for local governments to fund transportation improvements. Chapter 36.73 of the Revised Code of Washington provides for the establishment of TBD by cities and counties for the sole purpose of acquiring, constructing, improving, providing, and funding transportation improvements within the district.
In 2005 and 2007, the Legislature amended the TBD statute to expand its uses and revenue authority, including the ability to authorize a $20 annual vehicle license fee (VLF), and up to an additional $80 of VLF, if approved by voters within the district.
The state legislature provided local governments with these tools because inflation has eroded the local share of gas tax and because a series of statewide ballot initiatives passed over the last 12 years have eliminated other traditional sources of funding for local transportation needs.
Who runs the EWTBD?
The East Wenatchee Transportation Benefit District is governed by a Board, comprised of East Wenatchee City Councilmembers acting ex officio and independently of their elected position, as required by the authorizing state law. When it was established in 2013, the Board, with guidance from the City Engineer, conducted a comprehensive review of the City's residential streets and scheduled an overlay program. With a few minor exceptions, the revenue raised by the vehicle licensing fee goes towards improving residential streets.
What funding sources are availble to the EWTBD?
Without voter approval:
Annual vehicle fee up to $20. This fee is collected at the time of vehicle renewal and cannot be used to fund passenger-only ferry service improvements.
Transportation impact fees on commercial and industrial buildings. Residential buildings are excluded. In addition, a county or city must provide a credit for a commercial or industrial transportation impact if the respective county or city has already imposed a transportation impact fee.
With voter approval:
Property taxes: a one-year excess levy or an excess levy for capital purposes;
Up to 0.2 percent sales and use tax;
Up to $100 total annual vehicle fee per vehicle registered in the district;
Why did the EWTBD implement a $20 car tab fee without voter approval?
In large part, the legislature authorized the $20 vehicle license fee to replace a $15 countywide license fee dedicated to local street funding that had been eliminated by passage of I-776 in 2002.
How is the EWTBD spending my $20?
The EWTBD spends the revenue on improving residential streets.