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Transportation Benefit District Board Agenda Packets
What is a Transportation Benefit District (TBD)?
  • As authorized by the Washington State Legislature, a TBD is a quasi-municipal corporation and independent taxing district created for the sole purpose of acquiring, constructing, improving, providing, and funding transportation improvements within the district. A TBD is an independent taxing district that can impose specific taxes or fees, either through a vote of the people or through district board action. TBDs are flexible - they allow cities and counties to work independently or cooperatively to address both local and regional transportation challenges.
What are the boundaries of the Lakewood TBD?
  • A county or city may choose to have the TBD boundaries identical with the county or city, or just include a portion of the city or county. However, if a TBD chooses to exercise the tax authority that does not require a public vote, the boundaries of the TBD must be countywide, citywide, or unincorporated countywide. The physical boundaries of the Lakewood TBD are identical with the Lakewood City limits.
Who may create a TBD?
  • The legislative authority of a county or city may create a TBD. The county or city proposing to create a TBD may include other counties, cities, port districts, or transit districts through interlocal agreements.
Who governs the TBD?
  • The members of the legislative authority (county or city) proposing to establish a TBD serve as the governing body of the TBD. The legislative authority is acting ex officio and independently as the TBD governing body. If a TBD includes additional jurisdictions through interlocal agreements, then the governing body must have at least five members, including at least one elected official from each of the participating jurisdictions.
When does the TBD Board meet?
  • The TBD Board meets as needed and notices are published in accordance with the requirements for public meetings.
Why create a TBD if the county or city legislative authority is the governing board?
  • TBDs have more flexibility to solve specific transportation issues. For example, more than one type of jurisdiction can be part of a TBD and the boundaries can be less than countywide or citywide.
What transportation improvements can be funded by a TBD?
  • The definition of transportation improvements is fairly broad. This can include maintenance and improvements to city streets, county roads, state highways, public transportation, transportation demand management, and other transportation projects identified in a local, regional or state plan.
What revenue options do TBDs have?
  • TBDs have several revenue options subject to voter approval:
    • Property taxes – a 1-year excess levy or an excess levy for capital purposes
    • Up to 0.2 percent sales and use tax
    • Up to $100 annual vehicle fee per vehicle registered in the district
    • Vehicle tolls
  • TBDs have two revenue options that do not require voter approval but are subject to additional conditions. To impose either fee, the TBD’s boundaries must be countywide or citywide, or if applicable, in the unincorporated county. Foregoing a vote is an option. A county or city still has the option of placing either fee to the vote of the people as an advisory vote or an actual requirement of imposition. The two options are:
  1. 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. (HB 1485 increases this option up to $40.)
  2. 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.
Are TBD revenues required to be spent as they are collected?
  • No, unlike impact fees, TBD revenues do not have to be spent in a specified time frame. The governing body must develop a plan that specifies the transportation improvements to be provided or funded by the TBD. As part of this plan, the TBD's governing board can indicate if the funds will be used immediately, or if they will be collected for a specified period. Typically funds that are collected for a specified period before being expended are used to fully fund large projects, when bonding, or serve as a match for state or federal funds that may only become available in a specified time frame. 
Why am I being charged the $20 Transportation Benefit District fee if I have moved outside of the Lakewood City limits?
  • If you have moved outside of the Lakewood City limits and are being charged the $20 Transportation Benefit District Fee, chances are that your vehicle is still registered with a Lakewood address. If you complete a change of address form, available online at the Department of Licensing (DOL) or in person with a DOL agent , you will be given a new location code. Your fee for tab renewal will then be assessed based on your new location code.
What happens if a city imposes the $20 vehicle fee and then the county imposes a countywide fee without voter approval?
  • The law requires TBDs to provide a credit for vehicle fees previously imposed by a TBD. For example, if Lakewood was first to create a TBD to impose a $20 vehicle fee and subsequently the county creates a countywide TBD imposing a $20 vehicle fee, the county TBD must provide a $20 credit against its fee for vehicles registered in Lakewood. As a result, no fee would be collected by the county TBD from vehicles registered in Lakewood. 
Who can I contact about other fees on my Vehicle License Tab Renewal Notice?
  • For fees related to the Department of Licensing (DOL) (examples: weight based fee, license plate replacement fee, reflective coating fee, etc.), please contact DOL's Vehicle Customer Service Center at (360) 902-3900. For the $5 voluntary donation related to Washington State Parks, please contact the Washington State Park Headquarters at (360) 902-8844. 

Vehicle License Fee

On September 15, 2014, the Lakewood City Council, acting as the Transportation Benefit District Board, voted to enact a $20 vehicle license fee that will help pay for millions of dollars in much-needed improvements to street and transportation improvements throughout the community

The City Council authorized the annual fee on a 6-1 vote. Beginning in March, the fee will apply to the following:

  • Auto stage, six seats or less
  • Commercial trailer
  • For hire vehicle, six seats or less
  • Mobile home (if registered)
  • Motor home
  • Motorcycle
  • Passenger car
  • Sport utility vehicle
  • Tow truck
  • Trailer, over 2000 pounds (but if private use single axel, it’s exempt)
  • Travel trailer; and
  • Each vehicle subject to grow weight license fees with a scale weight of six thousand pounds or less

The following vehicles are exempt from the $20 vehicle license fee:

  • Campers, as defined in RCW 46.04.085
  • Farm tractors or farm vehicles, as defined in RCW 46.04.180 and 46.04.181
  • Mopeds, as defined in RCW 46.04.304
  • Off-road and non-highway vehicles, as defined in RCW 46.04.365
  • Private use single-axel trailer, as defined in RCW 46.04.422
  • Snowmobiles, as defined in RCW 46.04.546; and
  • Vehicles registered under chapter 46.87 RCW and the international registration plan.

The vehicle licensing fee is expected to generate $4.08 million between 2015 and 2020. The City will also pay $5.06 million out of its general fund that will be identified in the 2015-16 budget biennium, combining for a total of $9.14 million.

That revenue - along with revenue generated from sources such as the real estate excise tax, motor vehicle fuel tax and grants – will end up giving Lakewood residents nearly $15.6 million worth of much-needed improvements to City streets and roads between 2015 and 2020:

Project

Cost

Steilacoom Blvd – Lakewood Drive to west of South Tacoma Way

$800,000

Pacific Hwy – 108th Street to State Route 512

$595,000

100th Street – Lakeview Avenue to South Tacoma Way

$529,000

Chip Seal Program – Local Access Roads

$1,995,000

New LED Street Lights

$975,000

Signal Projects

$690,000

Minor Capital Projects

$300,000

Neighborhood Traffic Safety

$150,000

Personnel, Engineering, Professional Services

$2,913,000

Lakewood Drive – 100th Street to Steilacoom Blvd

$900,000

Lakewood Drive – Flett Creek to north City limits

$1,155,000

Main Street – Gravelly Lake Drive to 108th Street

$331,000

59th Avenue – Main Street to 100th Street

$496,000

59th Avenue – 100th Street to Bridgeport Way

$276,000

108th Street – Bridgeport Way to Pacific Highway

$661,000

108th Street – Main Street to Bridgeport Way

$743,000

Custer Road – Steilacoom Blvd to John Dower Road

$540,000

88th – Steilacoom Blvd to Custer Road

$300,000

100th Street – 59th to Lakeview Avenue

$1,320,000

Total

$15,669,000

The Lakewood City Council has examined ways to make the much-needed improvements to Lakewood streets – which were inherited from Pierce County after incorporation in 1996 – for nearly two years. It reduced costs in as many areas as possible, but as Mayor Don Anderson said, the vehicle licensing fee was unavoidable for the City to maintain and improve streets the way residents expect.

“Our City has worked the past two years to make sure we did everything we could to deliver residents a street improvement program that they want and would pay dividends in the future,” Anderson says. “Unfortunately, there was no way to do that without implementing this vehicle license fee … We know that it might be difficult for some, but we hope that residents, in general, view this as an investment in their community.”