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King County Council approves formation of Transportation Benefit District

King County - Contributed art
King County
— image credit: Contributed art

The Metropolitan King County Council today gave its unanimous approval to the formation of a Transportation Benefit District —a separate taxing district that has the authority to generate revenue for transit, roads and other transportation projects.

“With formation of a countywide Transportation Benefit District, King County now has a potential tool for funding preservation of Metro Transit service and maintenance of local roads and transportation infrastructure,” said Council Chair Larry Phillips. “Without new revenue, King County faces transit service cuts of up to 17 percent and at least a $50 million annual gap for the maintenance of county roads.”

Rod Dembowski, the representative for Kirkland on the council. voted in favor of the measure.

“I appreciate the unanimous approval of this critical legislation by my colleagues.  It will allow us to ask the voters to make necessary investments in our transit and road systems,” said Dembowski, chair of the Council’s Transportation, Economy and Environment Committee, and author of the ordinance creating the District. “As we move forward, I am committed to ensuring that the TBD uses the authority granted by law for rebates of vehicle license fees to low-income taxpayers to ensure that any funding measure is as progressive in nature as possible.”

The Transportation Benefit District is similar in structure to the King County Ferry District and King County Flood Control District, with the members of the County Council acting as the Transportation Benefit District Board. The district will have the the authority to acquire, construct, improve, provide and fund transportation improvements identified in the transportation plan of the Puget Sound Regional Council, the county or a city within the county.

“The county’s roads and transit budget shortfalls have reduced our ability to provide these regional and local services at levels previously provided,” said Councilmember Kathy Lambert. “The creation of the TBD provides additional options for potential transportation revenues that could help offset these shortfalls.”

The Transportation Benefit District will be able to consider funding options and determine whether to propose sending a measure to raise revenue for the district to county voters.

 

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