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The City has about 126 road segments that are in failing or near failing condition because of insufficient revenue. Gas tax, sales tax, and other traditional “street revenues” have steadily declined to the point where we are faced with a sorely declining infrastructure and no way to pay for it. One tool the State has given cities is to create our own Transportation Benefit District to fund the repair and preservation of our roads.
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A TBD is a separate and independent taxing district authorized by state law and created for the sole purpose of repairing, constructing, improving, preserving, and funding transportation improvements within the district. The Arlington Transportation Benefit District was formed in April 1, 2013 with identical boundaries to the City limits. The city council acts as the district's board of directors.
The City recently completed a pavement analysis, which found that 72% of the City’s streets are in satisfactory or good condition. The study also revealed that 126 roads have segments that are in failing or near failing condition. While we have been very successful in getting federal and state grant dollars to rebuild local city streets, (like the Final Phase of 67th Avenue NE, Airport Boulevard, etc.), the grant dollars available are shrinking and the competition is getting tougher. Arlington will not receive the same amounts of grant dollars as it has over the last 5 years. Furthermore, Arlington will not meet the requirements for future grant funds if the city does not invest in the preservation of its streets.The TBD Board has selected the 126 road segments throughout the City that are in failing or near failing condition to be repaired and improved over the next 10 years. To see which road segments have been selected for repair and improvement, view the current projects (PDF).
Initial selection was made based upon a November 2012 Pavement Condition study, which evaluated all roadways within the City limits of Arlington. This study identified 126 road segments that are at failing or near failing condition and are in need of preservation, repair, or rebuild. The repairs will begin in 2014, if the sales tax increase is approved by the voters. Priority of the preservation and repair of roads will be given to main arterials and high traffic roads, followed by collector roads and residential streets that are rated as failing or near failing.
A Transportation Benefit District may seek voter approval of a $.002 sales tax under Chapter 36.73 RCW. A sales tax is equitably shared by both residents and non-residents that use Arlington streets and would raise approximately $650,000 annually. With voter approval of the $.002 sales tax, the TBD can begin to replace the transportation funding that has been lost over the years, and be better able to preserve, maintain or expand the City's transportation infrastructure into the future.If passed by the voters, the increased tax on $100 worth of taxable goods purchased in the City of Arlington would be $0.20.
Only residents that live within the Arlington City limits may vote on the request to increase the sales tax by $.002. The Arlington Transportation Benefit District Board is asking residents to approve the $.002 sales tax on the August 6, 2013 ballot.
For every $100 spent in the City of Arlington on taxable items, the sales tax would increase by $0.20. Sales tax is not collected on food. Additionally, City residents are not the only ones that would pay this tax. Those that visit Arlington, be it for business or pleasure, would also be contributing to the fund to repair our roads.The sales tax proposal is only for a ten year period. Once the end of the ten year period is reached, the TBD must either dissolve or request approval from the voters to continue the funding beyond the ten year period.
Street preservation is a vital service the city must provide to Arlington residents, business owners and visitors. Street preservation is also an important part of the city's economic development efforts. The city's streets are often the first impression visitors, potential business owners and customers have when they enter Arlington. Other economic incentives may not matter if Arlington's streets are not well maintained and inviting. In this case "curb appeal" is not just a figure of speech. A transportation benefit district would provide funding to ensure Arlington streets and sidewalks do not deteriorate and require a more expensive fix in the future.
Yes! State law requires that all revenue generated by the additional $.002 sales tax must be maintained in a separate fund and used exclusively for the road preservation, maintenance, and improvements as outlined in the adopted plan. The TBD has established a list of 126 road segments that are in need of preservation, repair, and maintenance.
Any of the Board of Directors of the Transportation Benefit District would be happy to address your questions. You may also email the TBD or call 360-403-3441.