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Tacoma City Council expands transportation tax district to fund more projects

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(The Center Square) – The Tacoma City Council has approved amendments to the city code to provide flexibility for the use of Transportation Benefit District funds for transportation infrastructure needs.

The Transportation Benefit District collects revenue from a vehicle license fee of $20, as well as an additional sales tax of one-tenth of 1% for a period of 10 years, which is set to expire in 2025.

Ordinance 28965 was approved by the Tacoma City Council on Tuesday, with changes to the city code allowing generated funds from the transportation benefit district to be used for maintenance, preservation, and operations of the city’s street and transportation system.

Prior to the passage of the bill, the city’s primary focus for the tax district was funding improvements to residential streets.

“With more flexibility in funding and project scope, the transportation benefit district can better and more equitably address Tacoma’s ongoing needs around the maintenance of its transportation system, ultimately improving accessibility for all residents,” Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards said in a news release.

The Tacoma Office of Management and Budget estimates that the city will collect $5.8 million in authorized vehicle license fees, $15.1 million from the sales tax increase of one-tenth of 1%, and $84,528 in investment revenues, for a total of approximately $21 million in transportation benefit district revenue in the 2023-2024 biennium year.

According to a memorandum, the Tacoma Public Works Department continued to receive feedback from the public regarding the street and transportation network in Tacoma. However, the city cites funding constraints for not being able to work on arterial roads in need of major rehabilitation.

“I hear every day from constituents with concerns about our streets and transportation infrastructure,” Tacoma City Councilmember Sarah Rumbaugh said. “The changes to our transportation benefit district will allow for more funding for maintenance, preservation, and operations of the city’s street and transportation system.”