Council Adds Transit Option to Transportation Benefit District

Amber Waldref, City Council Member (District 1), (509) 625-6719,

Tuesday, April 12, 2016 at 9:58 a.m.

Spokane City Council approved a change to its Transportation Benefit District (TBD) at its April 11th meeting. The change would allow the District, which has been in place since 2011, to fund transit services in addition to currently-funded street maintenance and pedestrian improvements.

“Planning and implementing improved transit services is vital to growing our city and supporting increased density and development,” stated Councilmember Amber Waldref, who proposed the change. “My preference is for improved transit services to be funded regionally, but this change gives the City an option to purchase additional bus service from STA in the future if approved by city voters.”

The State of Washington allows local jurisdictions to create Transportation Benefit Districts to fund a variety of transportation needs through various funding mechanisms, including car tabs and voter-approved sales tax. Currently, the City’s Transportation Benefit District uses an annual $20 car tab fee to fund approximately $2.4M in street maintenance and pedestrian projects.

“For the past 5 years, the City of Spokane’s TBD has successfully financed millions of dollars of street repair with citizen oversight and transparency,” said Council President Ben Stuckart. “I strongly support continuing to fund residential street and sidewalk maintenance projects through the TBD and also asking City voters to fund transit improvements if the STA Board chooses not to place a measure before voters this November.”

Spokane Transit has created a “Moving Forward” plan to increase transit service in the urbanized area of Spokane County by 25% over the next 10 years. In January 2016, the Spokane City Council approved a resolution in support of the STA Board placing a sales tax measure on the Nov. 2016 ballot to fund these regional transit improvements.